know the type... That use....all...the...s odding....time.

(67 Posts)

Aaaaahhh.... it makes me... want to.... scream.... what... I wonder.... is... the actual point?

I have no idea why people do it, or what effect they are trying to achieve. Am I missing something or I'd it a blatant misuse of a full stop?
I understand the use when you occasionally want to lead the reader on, and make them wait, for example

"I've just seen..... a flying pig"

But what is the use at the end, and even in the middle of, a normal sentence.

MrGeresHamster Mon 22-Oct-12 11:10:59


MrGeresHamster Mon 22-Oct-12 11:16:47

Sorry, had to do that. On active conversations your post was next to a post full to the brim of '...' but the OP sounds like she's having a hard time.

Your post made me giggle, which felt inappropriate. I had to separate them.

JackThePumpkinKing Mon 22-Oct-12 11:17:31

Meh, I do it smile

ZZZenAgain Mon 22-Oct-12 11:19:20

it has never bothered me

usualsuspect3 Mon 22-Oct-12 11:21:41

Doesn't bother me,especially if the poster is having a hard time.

But what does it mean? I've had emails like this too. What do the dots represent?

SummerRain Mon 22-Oct-12 12:36:12

I do it. I write like I speak, so the dots are where I'm pausing. Sometimes to continue a thought, sometimes for a tangent. Lots of reasons really.... Have to admit it made me laugh to think it annoys anyone so much.

I don't use them in formal writing, just in written speech iyswim?

verlainechasedrimbauds Mon 22-Oct-12 12:40:21

There should, of course, only be three...

verlainechasedrimbauds Mon 22-Oct-12 12:41:54

Although presumably, there should be four at the end of a sentence.

I clearly don't have enough to do: I've just looked up "ellipsis" on wikipedia.

HoneyDragon Mon 22-Oct-12 12:44:37

I don't object at all used as part of a written "chat". It is a useful conversational aid.

So... you are basically... forcing... the reader... to take... a break?

I still think the full stop button on the keyboard is stuck.

Technically shouldn't they be in brackets?

I... use it for effect... in FB updates and responses to threads. It represents a pause or to allow the viewer to fill in the words that I may have implied but not completed.

For example, recent FB status - "When you find an inexplicable slug on your arm, while sitting on a sofa... that."

I write texts, fb posts and thread posts on internet forums, in a conversational style and pausing for effect etc. is part of that for me, but everyone has different writing styles. I would not use them in formal writing, essays, letters or even emails.

Everyone has their bug bear - I hate LOL, roftl etc.

Ah summer... put my point my succinctly... before I posted

PosieParker Mon 22-Oct-12 13:10:35

I keep doing it, I have no idea why as it annoys me too!

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 22-Oct-12 13:16:58

Oh dear. I have a nasty habit of doing this...

Pagwatch Mon 22-Oct-12 13:19:04

I do it as a sort of tailing off thing.

I don't care if people don't like it


Ponders Mon 22-Oct-12 13:21:15

tailing off is's when people use it...instead of a comma...or a full stop...that it's infuriating...

like that


MooncupGoddess Mon 22-Oct-12 13:25:46

My boss does this and I have started to pick up the habit myself. Have to go through every email I write before sending to remove unnecessary ellipses.

Sometimes people use ellipses to indicate that the issue is continuing (e.g. 'Let's talk tomorrow...'). Sometimes the intent seems to be menacing ('I'm going to be very angry if he does that again...'). Sometimes it seems to show a lack of confidence, like tailing off in the middle of a spoken sentence.


BigBroomstickBIWI Mon 22-Oct-12 13:26:18

Oh yes, I absolutely agree, Ponders. I always associate that way of posting with d a f t p u n k too, as that was how she used to type.


But nothing wrong with trailing away ...

Oh I always do it.

Shoot me now.

Or not...

Ponders Mon 22-Oct-12 13:37:55

no you don't, ferret - that would be:

Oh I always do it... Shoot me now... Or not...


whatthewhatthebleep Mon 22-Oct-12 14:06:49

I use ..... all the time and it works well for me...seems sad that something so irrelevant could become an actual issue for a person...
Don't you have enough to think about...really?

Apart from that, who on earth would I think I was if I thought I had any right to comment on what others were writing and whether I thought their writing style should be commented on.....sad....just quite sad I think

I like ellipses and I'm going to use them grin ...and I didn't come here for teacher marks (right or wrong)when I write my posts either...left school loooonnnggg time ago...thanks

BigBroomstickBIWI Mon 22-Oct-12 14:09:24

Well, whatthewhatthebleep - this is pedants' corner!

dotty2 Mon 22-Oct-12 14:11:41

I am in other respects a bit of a pedant, but guilty of this...

Pagwatch Mon 22-Oct-12 14:11:44

Damn you BIWI . Being pedantic in a section for pedantry.


whatthebleep I have to repeat what BIWI said. This is pedants corner not aibu.
I don't give a ...(insert word of choice).... what you think. I'm being pedantic and saying it frustrates me.

On a pedantic note; why can the reader no longer be trusted to insert the breaks as they see fit? Which would usually be where the grammar (such as parenthesis, commas, colons and full stops, etc.) allowed them to be. The use of "....." seems a complete misuse of the full stop to me.

whatthewhatthebleep Mon 22-Oct-12 14:54:55

opinion .... I can comment

going now, won't be back....I don't give a ...(insert word of choice)...either

aquavit Mon 22-Oct-12 14:56:18

they are elisions, not ellipses <pedant>

which should tell you everything you need to know about when it's appropriate to use them

Well what do you expect whatthebleep when you come storming into pedant corner with you yabu style comment.
Um, I think you will find I can be pedantic in pedant corner, as that is the point of this section.

I agree OP, I just opened a post that was littered with ellipses and just closed it again. It's too annoying to read.

TheDeathAndGlories Mon 22-Oct-12 15:11:06

I use them on forums and on Facebook as I write as if I was (were?) chatting.
I wouldn't use them in anything formal or even in emails, except maybe to dh.

sauvignon I'm glad its not just me, i had a annoying message on the dreaded FB this morning, that was so difficult to read, and gave me a headache trying.

Pagwatch Mon 22-Oct-12 15:15:24

Its not that you can't comment whatthewhatthebleep.
It's just the bit of your post about 'don't you have enough to think about' and the suggestion that people shouldn't comment when the thread is in this section is odd.
It's like going to chicken keepers and saying 'how can you lot waste your time on those clucky fuckers' or to style and beauty and posting 'bags are a bit pointless. You lot should shut up'

Of course you may do it but it does look a bit dim.

drjohnsonscat Mon 22-Oct-12 15:16:47

I think it's to replace !

"Clever" people know not to use ! in posts and emails so they use...instead because it sort of means "big build up" and so avoids the need to use !!!!!

I'm campaiging for the return of ! Because it's fine and we should all just get over ourselves.

BTW, Jeanette Winterson uses .... all the time in her most recent book (the memoir, can't remember the name). It did actually drive me a bit mad.

whatthewhatthebleep Mon 22-Oct-12 15:17:37

obviously I have made an error coming into this area...apologies!...carry on....

I don't think there use is defined by ellipses or elisions...I think they are more to do with typing a comment, advice or whatever as though you were talking/chatting in conversation....I'm not sure how this is defined but I don't think these do it tbh...anyway, never mind me..I'm probably just a dotty person and it seems to make good sense to me...whatever smile

thanks for pagwatch

ExasperatedSigh Mon 22-Oct-12 15:20:10

Don't have a problem with this myself (unsurprisingly since I do it all the time) but just had to say that I really hate it when people post. like. this. for effect. It really really fucking fucks me off.


I think you'll find that it's 'their' use, not 'there'.
I wouldn't normally point that out, I think it's bad form but, as this is Pedants' corner, I'll allow myself to.grin

imperialstateknickers Mon 22-Oct-12 15:24:25

I've never known what they're called, I read them as dot dot dot, but I know perfectly well what they mean.

I would use them to indicate a pause, before the punchline of a joke.

Or at the end of a sentence to mean 'I leave it to your imagination what happened next'.

I would not use them to replace common easily available bits of punctuation, which I find just as infuriating to read as OP does.

As an example here is my own post from the parentbrain thread

'I put a french stick away in the kettle. It wouldn't fit properly in the kettle, I spent some time breaking it up into lengths that would fit, then jammed the lid down with a sense of satisfaction. Then put rest of shopping away, then decided to have some tea as ddtwins were still asleep in buggy.

Took kettle to sink to fill it...'

I'm sure that if I can manage to type without using "...." all the time, and still manage to "sound" to the reader like I am chatting, then why exactly is "...." or "what. exap. said." being used?

I don't understand why I cannot be trusted to put my own damn breathing spaces in? there's not going to be many official letters or essays being written or read on a "chat" forum I think it is obvious it will be a chatty post, without the need for "....."

ISK your use is acceptable. how pregnant were you?

Ponders Mon 22-Oct-12 16:56:48

goodness, ISK, twins must mess with your head much more than singletons grin

WMittens Tue 23-Oct-12 08:10:32

I do it. I write like I speak, so the dots are where I'm pausing.

We have commas to signify pauses.

they are elisions, not ellipses <pedant>

From wiki: "Elision is the omission of one or more sounds (such as a vowel, a consonant, or a whole syllable) in a word or phrase, producing a result that is easier for the speaker to pronounce.

In Native English, elision comes naturally, and it is often described as "slurred" or "muted." Often, elision is deliberate. It is a common misconception that contractions automatically qualify as elided words, which comes from slack definitions. Not all elided words are contractions and not all contractions are elided words (for example, 'going to' -> gonna: an elision that is not a contraction; 'can not' cannot: a contraction that is not an elision)."

"..." is nothing to do with elisions confused

picnicbasketcase Tue 23-Oct-12 08:13:19

The occasional one I don't mind, it's the posts where there is no other punctuation that get on my tits.

JudeFawley Tue 23-Oct-12 08:19:58

I have a friend who sends me long e-mails.

They consist entirely of caps, dots and exclamation marks.


Most annoying.

HappyTurquoise Tue 23-Oct-12 08:22:45

Guilty as charged M'lud...

BelfastBloke Tue 23-Oct-12 08:23:00

Looks like most of us pedants use it ...

and many more of us don't mind it ...

It has the Mumsnet Pendandts Seal of Approval!

HappyTurquoise Tue 23-Oct-12 08:36:01

The dots are for when I am thinking something that cannot be said (because it would offend and the thread would go off at a tangent, or because I want the OP to be led to their own conclusions, or because I'm brainstorming lots of ideas and don't have words for the in between thoughts, or because I am hungover and hard of thinking.)

SummerRain Tue 23-Oct-12 09:31:16

A comma is a short pause in a sentence, or two commas to contain a slightly separate thought which is relevant to the meaning of the sentance. The ellipses are for a longer pause or for an altogether different thought extrapolated from my original idea.

'My son, who is 5, is behaving very badly today'

'My son is behaving badly today... I wonder is it just the age he's at?'

Sorry, not the best example but I haven't had my morning cuppa yet!

aquavit Tue 23-Oct-12 12:55:16

The dots indicate omitted material. That's why they are called elisions. They create suspense (especially at the end of a sentence) because they imply that something hasn't (yet) been said.

They are also commonly used to indicate a pause. Overuse in this way is very irritating.

Ellipses are brackets () fgs

WMittens Tue 23-Oct-12 13:32:23


'My son is behaving badly today... I wonder is it just the age he's at?'

should be:

'My son is behaving badly today; I wonder is it just the age he's at?'

If I was being really pedantic:

'My son is behaving badly today; I wonder: "is it just the age he's at?"

WMittens Tue 23-Oct-12 13:36:38


"Ellipses are brackets () fgs"

Parentheses are brackets. Ellipses are "..."

insancerre Tue 23-Oct-12 13:44:14

I find myself increasingly using - to punctuate for everything- don't know why- but I do- saves me using more than one finger and capital letters

aquavit Tue 23-Oct-12 13:50:03

good god, you must be right. I have gone completely mad

as you were ...

Ellipses are these, an elision is this.

SummerRain Tue 23-Oct-12 15:47:50

Mittens.... Were I writing in a formal style that's exactly what I'd do, however the fact is I'm not. I'm writing in a conversational style suited to an internet forum

pictish Tue 23-Oct-12 15:51:00

I do this, and I do it when I would pause in my speech. I write as I talk so that's what you get.

I don't care who finds it annoying. I'll keep on doing it, as that is what feels natural to me.

pictish Tue 23-Oct-12 15:55:29

Oh and I use commas to signify pauses as well. I use both.

TheLaineyWayIsEssex Tue 30-Oct-12 16:20:11

I like to think the ellipsis adds an air of mystery to a sentence:
Now I am off to bed ...

TheLaineyWayIsEssex Tue 30-Oct-12 16:21:26

I do like a good en dash instead of a comma - it seems a little stronger.

ProcrastinatingPanda Tue 30-Oct-12 16:22:25

What drives me crazy is seeing ..............

It's only supposed to be 3 little dots, not bloody twenty...

MaryZcary Tue 30-Oct-12 16:24:10

See, it's all Mumsnet's fault for changing the meaning of hmm from [ponders] to [sceptical].

In the old days you could ponder all over the place, now if you pause for thought you have to .... instead.

Though ds uses it to finish essays if he has got to the end of the specified number of lines and hasn't killed off his characters yet (God forbid he should write a single word more than the teacher has suggested ...).

Lougle Tue 30-Oct-12 16:43:52

A comma is a short pause in breath, or a clause change.

A full-stop signifies the end of a sentence and is indicated by a longer pause in breath.

Ellipses are the '...' in question. They are used, effectively, when the poster is uncertain of their statement, questioning the use of a word, or leaving words unspoken for the reader to imagine:

"I felt that he was cold, his eyes somehow...unfeeling....unreachable." Indicates that the writer is struggling to express the quality of the feeling that the subject's eyes gave him/her.

"Would you call it....turquoise?" The writer here has pondered, and come up with a possible solution.

"If you think you're getting away with that...." Indicates that there is an unspoken message.

Elisions are the omission of letters/sounds from a word to make pronounciation easier.

I like ellipses. In the right context, used judiciously.

What I hate is when people use them to drip feed information, and elicit a response from you. I know a man that does this. We play a live online game, where a group of us share a 'guild' and we can chat while we play. Conversations involving this man often start like this:

"How are you, x?"

"Oh, I'm not directly 'fine'....."

"Oh dear, what's the matter?"

"Well, life isn't exactly treating me 'well' lately......."

"Sorry to hear that."

"I thought I had a good car........"

Just spit it out man!!!!!

Mysexypants Tue 13-Nov-12 08:33:08

What I find even more frustrating is people who use no punctuation whatsoever. I spend the entire time trying to decipher their messages! A friend posted this message a few days ago:

back from prague late last nite had a fab few days in london for the day home later xx

I spent ages wondering why they had had a great few days in London when they were going to Prague before realising they were telling me they had a great few days in Prague, and were spending the day in London before returning home.

So many people are now posting like this & I don't understand why?

OvO Wed 14-Nov-12 22:51:55

I don't belong in this section but I had to post as I hate it too. It's fine used properly. Or even unproperly but just occasionally. It's when it's used constantly that I hate it.

I see it in the same way as I see text speak used on a forum. If you can't be arsed to type in a way that makes it easily read then I can't be arsed to read it. And using ... 20 times in one paragraph makes it a chuffing chore! If someone paused and trailed off that much in RL I'd tell them to see a doctor.

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