All terms

What is an Ellipsis?

An omission of words.

Saying More with Less: The Ellipsis in Creative Writing

Have you ever had more to say, but less said it all? Well, that's what the ellipsis is for! This handy punctuation mark gives the writer the option to omit words or phrases from a sentence without changing its meaning.

But beware, too much of a good thing can backfire and instead of adding dramatic effect, your writing can become choppy and incomplete. Remember, a little goes a long way when it comes to ellipses.

Dot Dot Dot: Spotting Ellipses in Literature

Ellipses can be a subtle but powerful tool in literature, here are two examples where this clever punctuation mark changes the meaning of the text.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The last example in The Great Gatsby is often given as: 'So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past...' the ellipsis playing a crucial role in the finality of the novel.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

In Cormac McCarthy's The Road, there are no chapter breaks, which imbues the apocalyptic environment with a never-ending dread, but the ellipsis acts as the only definitive break in the narrative, subtly altering the tone of the writing.