Those ‘…’s that everyone seems to use, everywhere, for no apparent reason.
Here, I shall vent my frustrations upon the interwebz.
My major irritation stems from the overuse of ellipses. This can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and anywhere else that social networking is taking place, and even in my inbox.
So, what are we to do? Replace them with a comma, or maybe, oh I don’t know, LEARN HOW TO PROPERLY USE PUNCTUATION?! WHY YES, THAT’D BE A GOOD START.
To begin, an ellipsis (this is the singular form, ellipses is the plural) is defined as “The omission of one or more words that are obviously understood but that must be supplied to make a construction grammatically complete,” or “a sudden leap from one topic to another.” I have never used an ellipsis to change from topic to topic, but maybe I should start.
I generally refer to Grammar Girl when I struggle with some topic that I have not covered recently or use often enough to remember the rules. Grammar Girl covers everything from proper spelling and usage for affect and effect to, guess what, ellipses! There are several different scenarios that she discusses proper use, such as in email, quotation, or for an omission.
My favorite quote from her write up on proper ellipses use is as follows
You should not replace all normal punctuation with ellipses. You should not allow the sweet lure of ellipses to muddle your ability to write a complete sentence. To quote the book Grammar for Dummies, “Using ellipses in this way can get annoying really fast.”
The author of one of my favorite books, Punctuate it Right, feels this way about writers who use ellipses to imply that they have more to say: “It is doubtful that they have anything in mind, and the device seems a rather cheap one.”
So, use ellipses to show hesitation or a trailing off of thoughts if you must, but use them sparingly, and know that although it’s grammatically correct, it’s considered by some to be annoying and cheap.
So, to sum up what the lovely Grammar Girl has to say, STOP USING ELLIPSES EVERYWHERE!
It feels cheap, and it’s awful annoying.
Tada! Done. No more drama-llama posting from Caitlyn tonight. I really just needed to get this out there.
I’m sure I’ll find other things to complain about.
Bet your last pay check that when The Oatmeal comes up with a comic on ellipses, I’ll be buying it.