Three Dots, One Raised Eyebrow

I like the ellipsis; it’s a wonderful device for indicating trailing off thoughts.

Except that’s not really an ellipsis, it just looks like an ellipsis. It’s “suspension points.” Nobody but the Chicago Manual of Style knows there’s a second name, so I’m going to ignore it for clarity. A true ellipsis is for leaving out part of a quote.

We’ve all used them, or seen them. “Oh my…” Gordon faltered, finding Emilio under the maroon satin sheets. All three dots have to appear on the same line or it becomes a typographical ugliness.

Occasionally we see a period following an ellipsis. That’s to indicate material in a larger quote that’s been elided out where there is a sentence break.

“Oh, man, yeah, suck me! I want your mouth, baby; come on! Do it to me! Yeah, oh, tongue, yeah, right there. Swallow that, Emilio; open that throat…” doesn’t have a period after throat because we’re assuming that Emilio’s sucking skills render Gordon’s sentences deliberately incomplete. If, however, we’re assuming that Gordon is babbling like a brook because of what Emilio’s doing, we could shorten the entire sequence. Then that bit of incoherence could be truncated like this: “Oh, man, yeah, suck me…!”

We’re also assuming that it’s good enough to warrant the exclamation point. It could be done with a period if the bit being left out just isn’t that marvelous. Or it could become a question, depending. “You want to…?”

Well, the one problem that I’ve had consistently is that my ellipses get replaced with their ellipses when I get my edits back. It’s annoying, because it means I did something wrong.

(Me, a perfectionist? What gave you that idea?)

So I decided to find out exactly how to get the character I want. And it was much easier than I expected. Control Alt Period. That’s all. It’s fun! … … … … … … Oh, sorry, it kind of got away from me there. After getting all sorts of icky Microsoft directions about using the Special Characters menu, I found this lovely shortcut. If you love Unicode characters (I’m still in the “Whut?” stage on Unicode) it’s 2026. But if you know that, you don’t need my directions here. Control Alt Period. Control Alt Period. I feel a tune fitting to those words. See how they run! See how they run!

Erm, sorry. But I will make my editors happy by saving them a few minutes by using the correct code from the very beginning, and improve the appearance of my ebooks.

2 responses to “Three Dots, One Raised Eyebrow

  1. Thanks. Cool shortcut, great name… I suppose I’ll forgive you for sending “Three Blind Mice” into my head.

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