If I want to end a quote before its period, am I required to use an ellipses (three or four dots)? e.g., Mike had a different outlook on the situation: "I like chicken..."
ThecandymancanIf I want to end a quote before its period, am I required to use an ellipses (three or four dots)? e.g., Mike had a different outlook on the situation: "I like chicken..."Three dots as the last dot represents a period.
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Since it's a matter of style, you can find different opinions. Here are only two.
The first one tells you not to add any ellipsis points; the second one suggests using four dots: three to indicate the ellipsis, plus a period.
[url=http://www.docstyles.com/cmscrib.htm ] SOURCE 1, based on the Chigago Manual of Style [/url]
[url=http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/CliffsReviewTopic/Uses-of-Quotation-Marks.topicArticleId-29011,articleId-28996.html] SOURCE 2[/url]
... if the original text reads: “Man’s capacities have never been measured; nor are we to judge of what he can do by any precedents, so little has been tried” (Thoreau 1979, 11), it may be edited to read:
- Original punctuation deleted. The punctuation in the original, if any, is retained in the quote. “Man’s capacities have never been measured; . . . so little has been tried” (Thoreau 1979, 11).
- Original punctuation retained. “If other punctuation occurs immediately before a word that is preceded by ellipsis points, that punctuation mark is placed before the word, with the usual intervening space” (Turabian 1996, 80). “Man’s capacities have never been measured; nor are we to judge of what he can do . . . , so little has been tried” (Thoreau 1979, 11). The phrase “by any precedents” has been omitted, but the comma after the phrase is retained.
- End of a sentence deleted. When the quoted material ends in a complete sentence as edited it is not necessary to add ellipsis points even if the sentence continues in the original. “Man’s capacities have never been measured; nor are we to judge of what he can do by any precedents” (Thoreau 1993, 11).
A three-dot ellipsis indicates that you are omitting something from a sentence that continues after the ellipsis.
Use four dots if you are omitting the last part of a quoted sentence that ends in a period but what remains is still a complete thought. The first dot comes immediately after the sentence and has no space before it. It functions as a period. The following three dots are spaced and indicate that material has been omitted. If the original sentence ended in a question mark or exclamation point, substitute that mark for the first dot.
You can also use the four-dot ellipsis whenever your quotation skips material and then goes on to a new sentence. But make sure that your four-dot ellipsis has an independent clause on each side of it.
Perhaps there's a difference between BrE and AmE in respect of the usage of ellipsis.
Times-Chambers Punctuation Guide by Gordon Jarvie states as follows:
We use three dots to indicate the omission of a word or words. If this omission occurs at the end of a sentence, one of these dots is seen as representing the full stop.
I don't think that the difference lies in BrE vs AmE. For instance, here are some extracts from three British Universities' guidelines for students:
[url=http://www.englit.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergrd/honours/departmentstylesheet.html ]Edimburgh University[/url]:
For ellipsis within a sentence, use three . . . spaced periods, leaving a space before the first period. Quotations that are complete sentences should end with periods even though matter in the original may have been omitted. To indicate ellipsis after the conclusion of a complete sentence, use four periods with no space before the first. . . .[url=http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/skills/grammar/grammar_tutorial/page_25.htm ]Bristol University[/url]:
Although the quoted material here is clearly taken from a longer sentence, the beginning and end of which has been omitted, there is no need for an ellipsis.
Finally, this is not a University, but a British institution, the [url=http://www.qaa.ac.uk/aboutus/policy/housestyleguidelines0205.asp]Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA)[/url]:
An ellipsis is three full stops (…) used to mark the omission of words. When used at the end of an incomplete sentence a fourth full stop is not required.
As I said earlier, when it comes to style, there can be different ideas and traditions. I guess we could find references for everything: no dots (the one I prefer, when the final part is taken out and the sentence still makes sense), three dots, four dots.
Use three lead dots (an ellipsis) in place of missing text in the middle of, or at the end of, a sentence. For example, 'the report confirmed that the institution was aware of the problem…and that it had taken action'. If using lead dots at the end of a sentence a full stop should still be used (making four dots in all).
If I were writing an assignment / report, then I would check my university / organisation requirements (if they exist). Otherwise, I would simply choose one style (Chicago Manual of Style, APA style etc.) and stick to it.