I was lucky enough to see Mariah Carey live on stage at the Singapore Grand Prix last night. However, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw her in this T-shirt:
For those of you who don’t have the most fantastic eyesight, the following sentence is written on the T-shirt:
I love you but…..
So what’s so wrong with that? If you don’t know, then you should familiarize yourself with one of the most common punctuation mistakes in existence: the ellipsis error.
What is an Ellipsis?
An ellipsis is not what happens when the moon moves in front of the sun; that’s an eclipse! An ellipsis is a punctuation mark that is used to indicate that some text has been omitted from a sentence, to indicate a pause in the sentence, or to represent the fact that an idea is trailing off into silence. The plural of ellipsis is ellipses. It consists of three, yes THREE, evenly spaced dots . . . not five dots, three! The ellipsis punctuation method is often referred to as “dot, dot, dot.”
Let’s have a look at a few examples when to use the dot, dot, dot:
This is one of the more common uses of the ellipsis and is often used by people when they want to quote something but wish to shorten the quote by leaving some of the text out.
For example, take a look at the following paragraph from Romeo and Juliet:
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied,
And vice sometimes by action dignified.
If I wished to shorten it, I may insert an ellipsis as follows:
Virtue itself turns vice . . . And vice sometimes by action dignified.
The ellipsis is useful if you want to denote a pause in a sentence:
Sarah had a wakeboarding accident . . . the outcome was not attractive!
This is commonly used in informal communications, such as text messages and email . . . and on Mariah Carey’s shirt:
I love you but . . .
Looking for more advice and assistance with punctuation? If so, please check out our free punctuation guides.
And one more thing…
Want to make sure you don’t make stupid mistakes with your written English? Then you’ve got to try Vappingo’s proofreading editing service.