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Ellipsis (plural ellipses; from the Ancient Greek: ἔλλειψις, élleipsis, "omission") is a mark or series of marks that usually indicate an intentional omission of a word in the original text. An ellipsis can also be used to indicate a pause in speech, an unfinished thought, or, at the end of a sentence, a trailing off into silence (aposiopesis) (apostrophe and ellipsis mixed). When placed at the end of a sentence, the ellipsis can also inspire a feeling of melancholy longing. The ellipsis calls for a slight pause in speech.

The most common form of an ellipsis is a row of three periods or full stops (...) or pre-composed triple-dot glyph (…). The usage of the em dash (—) can overlap the usage of the ellipsis.

The triple-dot punctuation mark is also called a suspension point, points of ellipsis, periods of ellipsis, or colloquially, dot-dot-dot.


In writing

In the United States, the correct notation for an ellipsis is ". . ." per Modern Language Association (MLA) standards.[citation needed] The use of ellipsis can either mislead or insult, and the reader must rely on the good intentions of the writer who uses them.[citation needed] An example of its use is "She went to … school." In this sentence, "... " might represent the word "elementary". In the 19th and early 20th centuries, ellipsis was often used when a writer intentionally omitted a specific proper noun, such as a location: "Jan was born on ... Street in Warsaw."

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