Ellipses . . . I’m not a fan

I receive a number of writing magazines each month, but my all-time favorite is The Writer. I’m always finding great information in these pages, so when my magazine came a few days ago, I was soon reading it from cover to cover. There’s a small feature titled Ask the Writer by Brandi Reissenweber which gives tips on grammar and punctuation.  This month’s article is about those pesky ellipses—you know, the spaced periods (…) indicating a pause or hesitation in dialogue.

I’ve never been a fan of the ellipses and often suggest when editing that they be eliminated. But Brandi takes it one step further. She suggests the writer add action instead of the ellipses to suggest a passing of time. She gives this great example:

“She had to try … don’t you think?”

Corrected version:  “She had to try.” He sat on the couch and put his hand to his head. “Don’t you think?”

Isn’t this a great tip to eliminate the ellipses and bring a visual method of showing  hesitation between dialogue lines?

Thanks, Brandi, for some great information. And if you’re interested in subscribing to a writing magazine, I suggest you get The Writer. www.WriterMag.com



1 Comment

  1. Margaret Marty
    Aug 17, 2011

    I have a tendency to use ellipses, so this was very helpful to me. Gayla also says not to use ellipses if you can do something better. Thanks, Angie.

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