Ellipsis Marks


Use ellipsis marks when omitting a word, phrase, line, paragraph, or more from a quoted passage.

NOTE: To create ellipsis marks with a PC, type the period three times and the spacing will be automatically set, or press Ctrl-Alt and the period once.

The Three-dot Method

There are many methods for using ellipses. The three-dot method is the simplest and is appropriate for most general works and many scholarly ones. The three- or four-dot method and an even more rigorous method used in legal works require fuller explanations that can be found in other reference books.

Rule 1

Use no more than three marks whether the omission occurs in the middle of a sentence or between sentences.

Example:
Original sentence:
The regulation states, "All agencies must document overtime or risk losing federal funds."
Rewritten using ellipses:
The regulation states, "All agencies must document overtime..."

NOTE: With the three-dot method, you may leave out punctuation such as commas that were in the original.

Example:
Original sentence from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address:
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
Rewritten using ellipses:
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth...a new nation, conceived in liberty..."

Rule 2

When you omit one or more paragraphs within a long quotation, use ellipsis marks after the last punctuation mark that ends the preceding paragraph.