Uses of an Ellipsis

An ellipsis indicates that words have been omitted from a quotation. This mark consists of spaced periods.

A three‐dot ellipsis indicates that you are omitting something from a sentence that continues after the ellipsis.

He writes, “ The wise collector should probably just bite the bullet …and acquire both paintings.”

The phrase “or mortgage the house” has been omitted from this quotation.

Use a four‐dot ellipsis if you are omitting the last part of a quoted sentence that ends in a period, but the remaining words are still a complete thought. The first dot comes immediately after the sentence and functions as a period. The following three dots are spaced and indicate that material has been omitted. If the original sentence ended in a question mark or exclamation point, substitute that mark for the first dot.

The author advises, “ In analyzing nonverbal signals, look at the total pattern of behavior rather than just one symbol….”

The phrase “before making a decision,” which ended the sentence, has been omitted from this quotation.

You can also use the four‐dot ellipsis whenever your quotation skips material and then goes on to a new sentence. But make sure that your four‐dot ellipsis has an independent clause on each side of it.

The market researchers outlined several possible explanations for the drop in sales…. No matter how many ways they analyzed the data, the projections were negative.