three consecutive dots in a sentence


ellipsis = ein Satzzeichen aus drei Punkten (. . .), das eine Auslassung von Wörtern anzeigt, eine Pause darstellt oder andeutet, dass etwas ungesagt bleibt



“This paper discusses aspects of direct speech in James Joyce’s story “The Sisters”. The story is often analyzed with special attention to the gaps and ELLIPSES in the utterances, which are usually read as omissions, evasions, or uncomfortable silences.”

Dirk Vanderbeke — International Journal of Literary Linguistics (2017)

Embraced by writers from Percy Shelley to Virginia Woolf, it was in the novel that the ELLIPSIS “proliferated most spectacularly”, according to Toner. She points to Ford Madox Ford and Joseph Conrad’s use of ellipses more than 400 times in their 1901 novel The Inheritors.

Alison Flood — The Guardian (2015)



Did you

ellipsis (plural ellipses)

- a punctuation mark of three dots [. . .] that shows an omission of words, represents a pause, or suggests there’s something left unsaid

- a situation in which words are left out of a sentence but the sentence can still be understood

Grammarly / The Cambridge Dictionary


The term "ellipsis" traces its origins back to ancient Greek. It is derived from the Greek word "ἔλλειψις" (elleipsis), which means "omission" or "falling short”.

This term was used in rhetoric to describe the intentional omission of words in a sentence or passage while still retaining the intended meaning. The concept of the ellipsis as a punctuation mark evolved from this rhetorical device.

The familiar typographic symbol "..." representing omitted words or a pause came into use in the 17th century.


An ellipsis [. . .] is also known as a “suspension point” or even just “dot-dot-dot” if you’re feeling casual. Here are the 4 most common ways to use an ellipsis in your writing:

(1) Omitted Words

In writing, ellipses are used to show the reader that words have been removed, typically from direct quotes. More often than not, this is done to cut out parts of the quote that aren’t relevant to the topic or to make the quote more succinct.

For example, if you want to include what a speaker said at the beginning and the end of a quote, but there’s a part in the middle that’s unnecessary, you can remove that middle part and replace it with an ellipsis.

Original Quote:

— “It must be obvious, from the very start, that there is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity.”

Quote with an ellipsis:

— “It must be obvious [. . .] that there is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity.”

(Alan Watts)

When using an ellipsis to omit part of a quote, be sure to pick the right spot. It’s best to remove a part that leaves the remaining sentence grammatically correct, as if nothing had been cut at all. In the ellipsis example above, the part removed came between two commas, so the sentence still works fine without it.

(2) Pause for Dramatic Effect or Suspense

An ellipsis can also be used to depict a small pause or silence in text, which is ideal for a dramatic effect. Often, the ellipsis comes before an anticipated part, like the punchline of a joke. The idea is to build suspense before a big reveal.

“With sweaty palms, I reached out for the knob and threw the door open to reveal . . . a lost puppy.”

(3) Trailing Off Into Silence

In speech, we sometimes leave sentences unfinished for a variety of reasons. Maybe we forgot what we wanted to say, or maybe our listeners already know what we’ll say, so we don’t need to say it.

In writing, this occurrence is represented by an ellipsis. When an ellipsis comes at the end of a sentence or quote, it means that the speaker has trailed off before finishing.

“Would you like sugar in your coffee, or . . . “

(4) To Suggest There’s More

When an ellipsis comes at the end of a complete sentence, it’s usually a dramatic device to insinuate that there’s more to come. One of the most common examples is the phrase “to be continued . . . “, where the ellipsis hints that there’s more to the story.

This can be a great storytelling tool in the right spot. It essentially challenges the reader to imagine what will happen next, heightening their anticipation and engaging them more deeply. It works best for cliffhangers and other endings, but be sure to use it sparingly so you don’t waste its effect.

“And then only the two of us we left . . . “

(adapted from: Grammarly)

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

"I just realized that besides being an ELLIPSIS in a written sentence, three dots also represent 'S', the start of the international emergency signal in morse code . . . S-O-S!"

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