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Monday, May 7, 2012

Ellipses


Grammar Rule #1: ELLIPSIS POINTS are spaced periods that show an omission of one or more words. There are three methods to choose from.

1. The three-dot method is the simplest. No matter where the omission occurs, only three points are used. The ellipsis is written as space-dot-space-dot-space-dot-space ( . . . ).

·      Omission in the middle of the sentence.
Example: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

à “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation . . . dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

     ·      Omission between sentences.
Example: “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.”

à “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure . . . We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.”

·      Normally, ellipsis points are not used at the beginning or end of a quotation, even if the first or last words have been omitted.

·      Other punctuation immediately preceding or following the ellipsis points may be retained.
Example: Punctuation preceding.
“Is this true? It cannot possibly be! Yet, alas, I fear it is; my death is the consequence, and I shall perish.”

à “Is this true? . . . Yet, alas, I fear it is; . . . I shall perish.”

Example: Punctuation following.
“Come now, let’s not be ridiculous about this whole, preposterous situation! Are you not going beyond what is reasonable for any human being on the face of this earth? I think all would agree with me.”

à “Come now, let’s not be ridiculous . . . ! Are you not going beyond what is reasonable . . . ? I think all would agree with me.”

Grammar Challenge: Your Turn! Rewrite the following paragraph and omit the underlined words:

“What was Amy doing out there in the field by herself? Foolish girl! She was too young to be sensible about danger. She was prone to pick up and coddle anything that moved: centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, snakes, hornets. Hollering my head off, I chased after her."

NEW! TUESDAY: Tips on Sharpening Your Writing Skills.
WEDNESDAY: More on ELLIPSIS POINTS.

Answers: “What was Amy doing out there . . . ? Foolish girl! . . . She was prone to pick up and coddle anything that moved: . . . scorpions, snakes, hornets. Hollering . . . , I chased after her."


How did it go? Any questions?

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