Ellipsis (plural ellipses; from the Ancient Greek: ἔλλειψις, élleipsis, "omission" or "falling short") is a series of dots (typically three, such as "…") that usually indicates an intentional omission of a word, sentence, or whole section from a text without altering its original meaning. Depending on their context and placement in a sentence, ellipses can also indicate an unfinished thought, a leading statement, a slight pause, a mysterious or echoing voice, or a nervous or awkward silence. Aposiopesis is the use of an ellipsis to trail off into silence—for example: "But I thought he was . . ." When placed at the beginning or end of a sentence, the ellipsis can also inspire a feeling of melancholy or longing.

The most common form of an ellipsis is a row of three periods or full stops (. . .) or a precomposed triple-dot glyph (). The usage of the em dash (—) can overlap the usage of the ellipsis, especially in dialogue. Style guides often have their own rules governing the use of ellipses. For example, the Chicago Manual of Style recommends that an ellipsis be formed by typing three periods, each with a space on both sides.

Some believe that the use of four or more dots or simply two dots, which is often referred to as being more "informal" instead of the well established three dots, is acceptable as an ellipsis. Others believe it is used as an indicator of something that was missed in the message that should not have been; an unnecessary re-iteration due to lack of intelligence or understanding.

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


"Good judgement seeks balance and progress. Lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration."
President Eisenhower
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