If ever an Ellipsis were to run for President, what would be the platform? No more dot-to-space-ratio lawlessness, of course! Yet, enforcing the Ellipses Laws may be trickier than a politician practicing magic tricks.
The underground world of ellipses
No punctuation mark is more misunderstood or misused (might I suggest “abused?”) than the humble ellipsis.
What’s this all about?
The underground of confused ellipses began with the complicated principles of using ellipses with quoted material at the beginning of a quotation.
Or in the Middle of quoted material.
Or at the end of quoted material.
The chaos of Styles and Style Manuals
The voices are loud and contradictory, whether discussing formal or informal writing. There are sticklers who tout perfection via the noble Legal style. Others proclaim the MLA style is the only way to go. The Chicago style versus AP style, which to use? The differences are remarkable and have been known to cause yawns disturbances on college campuses.
*All right you OCD-ers out there. If you must torture yourself, click into the following styles*
As if that wasn’t confusing enough, there are style manuals with set-in-concrete goop rules.
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA),
- The Chicago Manual of Style,
- and theTexas Law Review Manual on Usage, Style & Editing
It’s enough to give a person a splitting headache.
Here’s what happened to me . . .
My first two novels contain ellipses with no spaces before, after, or in between. That’s kind of AP Style, but not really. What happened? It seems that editors/editor assistants were changing the final manuscript ellipses to what they believed to be correct, back and forth, until it finally went to print with no ellipses spaces at all (…).
Were they wrong?
Frankly, I think they should have at least put a space before or after the three dots ( … ) ala AP Style in honor of my journalism background.
Going forward, it seems to depend on the views of each particular publisher, the editors, or the high-school grammar teacher speaking through someone’s wetware (brain). In other words, there aren’t any absolutes out there except in the aforementioned Legal, Chicago, MLA, and AP styles, and in those pompous sounding style manuals, of course.
Hmm. We’re dealing with a Theory of Ellipses Relativity. I think I get it. All Absolutists exit the side doors in an orderly fashion, please.
Where I stand
This blog dares to suggest that more people agree that the space before and after and between the dots is not only Chicago Style, but also the more accepted means of indicating that a sentence (or thought) trails off in informal writing, fiction novels, or in designing our contemporary homes.
Well, okay. I just threw in the designing part so you would stay with me. One has to do that with grammar
crud discussions or minds tend to tune out.
Here are examples of the style I recommend taken from my third novel, Valley of Shadows, due to hit the shelves sometime this summer.
- And these . . .” she said, touching the ruffle-edged shells, “. . . are Hawaiian clam shells. (indicates self-interrupted speech with an action)
- I can’t understand how the Ghost Herd came in here a few minutes before me and disappeared into, well . . . air.” (indicates hesitation)
- I couldn’t believe it. She-she told me about Smiles and . . .” Birdie fell into a heap at my feet, her face disfigured in silent agony. (indicates an unfinished sentence)
Keep it simple. Add the spaces and move on. I, for one, will be happy.
Back to the Ellipsis running for President (Why? Because it’s fun!)
A campaigning Ellipsis must make it perfectly clear that, if elected, it will hire more grammar cops to ensure alleged perpetrators of chaotic dots will be rounded up and thrown into a summer-time English class taught by Ferris Bueller’s economic teacher.
And arbitrators? Gosh yes! The Ellipsis campaign must assure the public that there will always be a forum, a safe place if you will, for debate and compromise when it comes to ellipsis use. For commas . . . not so much!
Imagine that: A world run by dots.
Can we count on your vote?
You know I love to hear from you. What have ellipses done for you lately? Spill and share!
Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.
If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindle, the Nook and most other eBook readers.
Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches Summer/Fall 2017. Here's a quick synopsis:
Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?
Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.
Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.