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Ellipsis points, or suspension points, have a couple of uses, but they always come in threes.

Although not generally used in business writing, ellipsis points can be used to show a continuation or an undefined idea. This allows for the reader to complete the sentence in a number of ways which can create interest or indicate uncertainty.

“I wasn’t sure what she meant, maybe it was a mistake…” (shows some confusion about how to react to her words)

“Sally called me yesterday and told me the news…” (makes the reader curious as to what the news is)

Ellipses are also used to show some missing information in a quote. When quoting some text from elsewhere, it isn’t necessary to quote every word but it is also important to not misrepresent the text as being complete. Adding … between words indicates that part of the original is missing.

“Australians all let us rejoice … Advance Australia Fair” shows that some words are missing between those quoted.

However, do not use ellipsis to change the meaning of the original text.

Compare “The root of all evil is in the love of money” and “the root of all evil is … money”

Note that the use of the ellipsis removes the need for other punctuation. If the original quote has a comma or full stop, this isn’t included next to the ellipsis. A question mark, exclamation mark or quotation marks, however, are included with the ellipsis.

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