Spaces around an elipsis

alexmurrell's picture

Hi all, just wandering if there is a correct way to treat the space around an ellipssis (…) or if it is just a mater of taste. I general follow these two rules (rightly or wrongly):

1. If the ellipsis falls at the start or end of a sentence then I do not separate the ellipsis with a space.

e.g. “Up to 50% off…”
e.g. “…this week only.”

2. If the ellipsis indicates omitted text within the middle of a sentence then I add a space either side.

e.g. “I have no idea if this is correct … I wish I knew the answer”

Any help?

Bert Vanderveen's picture

As far as I know omitted text is expressed this way: […].
That may be the answer to the second part… : )

oldnick's picture

The convention in ye olden days before desktop publishing was that you put a space before and after ellipses and em dashes, on the assumption that — when line breaks occurred deep inside the guts of the phototypesetting machine — the spaces would allow for better line breaks. With the advent of WYSIWYG, the spaces are probably not necessary UNLESS, for some reason, at a later date you need to reflow the text and don't feel like going back and checking every freaking ellipsis or em dash in your copy...

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I’m not as strong as I should be on the rules, but I always use an ellipsis with no space if some f… cut me off mid-sentence (or mid-word for that f…ing matter) and when ever I’m pondering or holding a thought I just go like this …

JamesM's picture

This subject is timely for me as I just finished a large job in which the client didn't like the style of ellipsis I used (I used the font's ellipsis character with a thin space on either side) and she asked me to go back and change them all to a different style.

To be honest I'd never given a lot of thought to this subject, so I spent a few minutes doing some research and was surprised to find some disagreements over ellipsis style.

So if there is a generally-agreed-upon "proper" style, I'd like to know it.

> at a later date you need to reflow the text

Don't know what program you're using, but if its InDesign you can apply the "no break" attribute to the ellipsis and the word before it, and that will keep them together even if the text reflows. A similar technique can be used to keep phone numbers, URLs, etc. from breaking.

Indra Kupferschmid's picture

Like Frode said: no word-space if it stands for omitted characters or parts of a word like in “f… rules”
but space before and after if the ellipsis replaces whole words or part of sentences like here … or to leave things open in the end …

Your examples would be set like this:
“Up to 50% off …”
“… this week only”

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Frode rules?

Syndicate content Syndicate content