We Love You Mariah Carey But . . .


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:

Ellipsis on t-shirt has 5 periods

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:

Picture of the number oneTo Indicate The Omission of Text

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.

Picture of the number twoTo Indicate a Pause in The Sentence

The ellipsis is useful if you want to denote a pause in a sentence:

Sarah had a wakeboarding accident . . . the outcome was not attractive!

Picture of the number threeTo Indicate an Idea is Trailing Off Into Silence

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 online proofreading service.

3 thoughts on “We Love You Mariah Carey But . . .”

  1. You have failed to convince me that Mariah has abused the ellipsis. You have a near Germanic use of capital letters in your title. Most offensive to me is your unnecessary pluralisation of email. There is a case for using a plural when you must quote a particular number of electronically mailed items (emails) but not when the specific number is unimportant or will be qualified by a descriptive plural as here: “… emails and text messages”. Ugh! Ongoing, statementable, utilisation going forward …

  2.  OK OK OK already! My eyesight was not good enough to see how many dots she used even when it was reprinted (in a small pale blue font on a white background). The rest of my post stands.

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