What are ellipses? Need help understanding how to use ellipses? Check out our ellipses examples, and learn how to use ellipses into your own writing.

How to use Ellipses?

How to use Ellipses? A good time to use ellipses would be when you only want to reference part of a quotation or an excerpt. The rest of the quotation or excerpt might not be relevant, or maybe you’re just trying to save space in your document, such a time is when to use ellipses. Ellipses are punctuation marks that indicate places in text where you’ve omitted words, a sentence, a line, or a paragraph. Ellipses consist of three dots, each of which is preceded and followed by a space.

Ellipses Examples:

Ellipses Example #1)
Franklin D. Roosevelt stated in his “four freedoms” speech that people have a right to a freedom from want, “which . . . means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.”

Ellipses Examples
How to Use Ellipses Example #2:
Abolitionist and suffragist Lucy Stone once said, “ I expect to plead not for the slave only, but . . . I mean to labor for the elevation of my sex.”

How to Use Ellipses Example #3: In his address at Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln famously stated, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth . . . the proposition that all men are created equal.” 

How to Use Ellipses Example #4:
Winston Churchill declared before the House of Commons, “Let us . . . so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’”

What are Ellipses?

When omitting a line or lines from a poem, insert one entire line of ellipses to stand in for the omitted material. Add greater space between the ellipses dots than you normally would.

Here is an example that shows how to use Ellipses, applied to Edgar Allan Poe’s poem  “Annabel Lee”:

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Note the longer ellipses for a poem break)
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

It’s important to quote correctly from any sources you reference. By inserting ellipses, you let the reader know you’ve deliberately left out certain material, not improperly quoted from the source. An ellipses also helps shorten source material to only what you need. When thinking of how to use ellipses, just remember to only use ellipses primarily for quoted material.

Check out our ellipses worksheets for more information on what are ellipses. If you liked our Ellipses resource, then let us know your feedback! Master more than just ellipses by checking out more of our punctuation terms.