Ellipsis is a literary device that is used in narratives to omit some parts of a sentence or event, which gives the reader a chance to fill the gaps while acting or reading it out. It is usually written between the sentences as “…”.
Apart from being convenient, ellipsis also helps in advancing the story. The part of a sentence or an event that is left out by substituting it with ellipses is often used to either save time or use it as a stylistic element by allowing the reader to fill in the gaps by using their imagination
- “After school I went to her house, which was a few blocks away, and then came home.”
Shorten the quote by replacing a few words with an ellipsis. Remember, the meaning of the quote should not change.
- “After school I went to her house … and then came home.”
We removed the words “which was a few blocks away” and replaced them with an ellipsis without changing the meaning of the original quote.
Use an ellipsis to show a pause in a thought or to create suspense. (Suspense is when a reader is excited to know what is going to happen next.)
- She opened the door . . . and saw . . . a cake!
- I was thinking . . . maybe we should call home.
This use of ellipses is very common in informal (friendly) letters and emails.
Use an ellipsis to show a break, or trailing off, of a thought.
- I know I saw my keys somewhere . . .
- “I’m not sure what to do . . .,” he said.
- I never thought . . .