The Proof Part 3: Apocellipses!

by Jenny Madison | April 15, 2016

4367768900_c1f0ba1a93_nIn the first two posts of our multi-part proofing series, we shared proofreading techniques and the various misuses of the comma. Exciting stuff, huh? Well, maybe not to everyone, but it goes without saying that grammar mistakes distract from your intended messages and can make your brand appear lax in the details department. And we just can’t have that!

Now that we’ve broken the grammar ice with Part 1 and 2, it feels like a good time to tackle a sensitive subject: ellipsis use and abuse. Perhaps we should call it by its nickname: Dot, Dot, Dot! We all use it and overuse it, and some of our communication is looking like target practice.

I personally call this trend: Apocellipses. Because while there are several darn good reasons to use an ellipsis, it seems that many are using the dots in unconventional ways, replacing all other punctuation with it. It’s like the end times for punctuation.

Don’t worry, though! Ellipses are okay in an informal setting (blogs, e-mails, texting your GF, BF, BFF, or whatever letter and F you choose), but if your communication is formal (business letters, communication with clients, etc.), stick to traditional punctuation.

Ellipses Rules Are as Easy as…

If someone at your law firm is responsible for generating online content, here are great tips from an ad agency that specializes in content for lawyers.

  • The primary or formal use of the ellipsis is omission of words from a long quote. An ellipsis can appear at the beginning, middle, or end, but it should never change the meaning of the quote.
  • The informal ellipsis should be used to indicate a break or hesitation in thought. If you’re dottin’ all over the place in your communication, it will seem as if you rarely have complete thoughts. Your friends won’t care about this, but potential clients or business partners may.

Well, that’s it for now. If you want to know more about the Apocellipses or other uses or overuses of punctuation, check Purdue Owl, Grammarist, or Grammar Girl. And, as always, feel free to reach out to cj Copywriter Jenny Madison at