Punctuation: Ellipsis

An ellipsis ( ... ) consists of three evenly spaced periods and is used to indicate the omission of words or suggest an incomplete thought. In general, an ellipsis should be treated as a three-letter word, with a space, three periods and a space. (Western Michigan University is ... nationally recognized and internationally engaged.)

Never delete words that are central to the original meaning. Do not use ellipses at the beginning or end of direct quotes when writing a news story.

Other guidelines and examples

When the words before an ellipsis make up a complete sentence, place a period before the ellipsis. (Western Michigan University is a student-centered research university. ... ) When the phrase preceding an ellipsis calls for a question mark, exclamation point, comma or colon, the correct order is: phrase, punctuation mark, space, ellipsis, space, next phrase. (What is a healthy university? ... The ability to think beyond our individual and limited view.)