Ellipsis Punctuation: Definition, Rules, Examples, and Usage

5 minute read

Elipsis Punctuation: An ellipsis (…) is three equally spaced periods that show the removal of words or recommend an incomplete thought. It can be considered to be a three-letter word including some space and three periods. In the ellipses Punctuation, there is no need to remove words that are central to the real meaning. Additionally, don’t use the ellipsis at the start or the closing of the direct quotes while writing a story.

However, there is more to the sign of continuous punctuation than meets the eye. Continue reading this blog to find out more about these symbols hereon and master their usage like a grammar nazi. 

Also Read: Punctuation Marks for Class 4 English Grammar

What is Ellipsis Punctuation? – Definition

The Ellipsis is a type of punctuation mark that indicates a pause or something that is left out purposely in a sentence. It shows that some words have been removed from direct quotes, which means there is some updation in the original passage. Additionally, ellipses are three periods or dots that have some spaces between them. 

The rules of this punctuation vary in different style guides. In media and formal writing, the ellipsis is normally put between brackets when used under a quote [. . .] to show that the ellipsis is included by the editor, not the real speaker. 

Ellipsis Punctuation Rules and Examples

Ellipsis is a punctuation mark that is not used much but it is crucial to understand to keep grammatical errors at bay. Here are some rules given below that will help you know about Ellipsis in a better way.

Rule 1: The ellipsis is used by writers at the start, middle, or between a sentence wherever the exclusion of words occurs. Removing the start of a sentence can be done by following the beginning quotation mark along with an ellipsis and a bracketed capital letter.

For Example: “…[A]fter years of wait, we finally visited the place.”

Rule 2: Ellipsis sometimes conveys suspense, changes of mood, hesitation, or relent. They are also used by writers to show pauses or flicker in other simple sentences. 

For Example:

  • Comfort is a good thing, but what happens if she …?
  • She said, “I …really don’t … know this.”
  • I don’t know …I’ll do this.

Read More: 19+ Quotation Marks Examples with Rules of Usage

How to Use Ellipsis Punctuation in English?

There are so many kinds of ellipses in English Grammar which serve mainly four main purposes in writing:

Omitted words

Ellipsis are used in writing to indicate that the words were removed from a sentence to the reader mainly from the direct quotes. Moreover, it is done to delete the parts that are unnecessary and irrelevant to the topic or to shorten the quote. 

For example: When you want to include the words said by the speaker at the end and the start of the quote and its middle is of no use, then you can remove it and replace it with an ellipsis.

Original QuoteQuote with an Ellipsis
Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.Life is never fair, [. . .] it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.

It is important to keep the grammar correct while removing a part from a quote and showcasing the sentence as nothing is removed from it.  The ellipsis can come at the start of a quote to indicate that the previous part of the conversation or speech is removed. It allows one to place a segment in the middle of the conversation, where the reader can identify in advance what the characters are saying.

For Example: “. . . and you wouldn’t believe the odour! We spent the rest of the evening cleaning it up.” 

Indicating Pauses

An ellipsis sometimes indicates a little silence or pause in the sentence, which is suitable for creating a dramatic effect. They usually come before an expected part, such as in a joke’s gag line. The main idea behind it is to create suspense before a huge surprise.

For Example: With a burning candle in my hand, I reached out near the door and entered through it to reveal…a mysterious box.

Trailing off

There are some sentences that we leave incomplete due to various reasons in a speech. It is because we sometimes forget what to say or the audience already knows about what we’ll say, so there is no need to speak it. In this kind of occurrence, ellipsis are used. The speaker trails off before the completion when the ellipsis is included at the end of a quote or a sentence.

For Example: Would you like custard for your dessert, or . . . 

Something More is There

In a complete sentence, when an ellipsis comes at the closing implying that there is something more to be included. It indicates that the phrase will be continued…, whereas the ellipsis expresses that there are more things in the sentence. It is a good method for storytelling if inserted at the right place. Additionally, it is used to create doubt among readers about what will happen next keeping them engaged in reading.

For example: And only the three of them left . . . 

Ellipsis Punctuation Examples

Ellipsis is the type of punctuation mark that is necessary to understand for using it properly in a sentence. Let’s understand the Elipsis Punctuation with some examples given below

Ellipses Examples

Ellipsis Punctuation Exercise for Practice

Read the sentences below and rewrite each of them by using an ellipsis.

  1.  I thought the decoration was nice. 
  2. The siren wailed Then there was a silence.
  3. The paper arrangement was unusual. 
  4. “I’m confused . . .” said Elaine.
  5. He was empty filled with anger … the embodiment of a broken heart.


  1. I thought the decoration was . . . nice.
  2. The siren wailed . . . Then there was a silence.
  3. The flower arrangement was . . . unusual. 
  4. “I’m confused . . .” said Elaine.
  5. He was empty … filled with anger … the embodiment of a broken heart.


Why are ellipsis used?

Ellipsis is mainly used in sentences or quotes where something is being omitted in a sentence. It is also used to indicate a pause and when something is left to be written.

How many dots are there in the ellipsis?

There are mainly three dots(. . .) in an ellipsis with proper spacing between them.

How ellipsis are different from periods?

An ellipsis is a Punctuation used to indicate a pause or omission in a sentence and contains three dots( . . . ). However, a Period is a Punctuation that is used to show that the sentence has ended and consists of a single dot ( . ).

Where can an ellipse be used in a sentence?

Ellipse can be used anywhere in the start, end, and middle of the sentence.

21+ Apostrophe Examples in Sentences19+ Quotation Marks Examples
Question Mark Punctuation (?)What is a Colon Symbol (:)? 
Punctuate the Following Sentence11+ Semicolon Examples and Tips to Use
Colon Punctuation Examples20+ Exclamation Mark examples

This was all about the ellipsis punctuation and more in grammar. Hope you understand the concept and know how to proceed. You can also follow the Learn English page of Leverage Edu for more exciting and informative blogs.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *