The Ellipsis … Overused and Misunderstood

Most people do not understand the subtle power of the ellipsis. Many only know it by its epithet, “those three dots.” But really, how should a writer use it and when?


The ellipsis’ power is in its pause, showing a wavering or hesitation in a decision. In dialogue, it builds suspense and changes the mood, creating tension as the reader waits for information. In interior monologue, it expresses thoughts rambling off or some sort of internal struggle.


The ellipsis brings dimensionality to characters because it reflects real life. We often lose track of thoughts or hesitate in our everyday actions, so this reflection in characters makes them more relatable and realistic. However, one word of caution: do not overuse. Or while operating heavy farm equipment.

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