Friday, June 16, 2017

The Student’s Guide to Punctuation: Ellipsis

When it comes to grammar rules and sentence structures, punctuation is one of those things that are always included. However, this does not necessarily mean that reference marks are at the forefront of your mind. Most test takers would focus more on the other technical aspects of a sentence like the subject and predicate.

ielts writing

While focusing on the more complex parts of the sentence is a good practice to avoid making mistakes, committing punctuation-associated mistakes can definitely lower your chances of reaching your IELTS dream. Taking IELTS review center courses or enrolling in an IELTS online review program can help you revisit and master your reference mark repertoire.

Most IELTS review center instructors build up their students' English language knowledge by establishing solid foundations. They begin their classes by doing recaps of the most basic language lessons - like the parts of speech and the subject-verb agreement - to make sure that their students are prepared for the more complex grammar lectures. Like their classroom-based counterparts, IELTS online review teachers also delve into the usually overlooked core topics like punctuation in their programs.

Ellipsis: Functions and Dot Quantities

Taken from the Greek word which means "omission," ellipsis is used to indicate something that has been left out. It is shown by putting three dots (ellipsis) to indicate that one or more passages where not included. The excluded parts can range from a sentence to a paragraph's worth of text.

For example:
Full text:
“Doubt thou the stars are fire,
 Doubt that the sun doth move,
 Doubt truth to be a liar,
 But never doubt I love."
– Polonius (Act II, Scene II) in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

Text with omissions: Hamlet expressed his feelings for Ophelia, “Doubt thou the stars are fire ... but never doubt I love."
There are many reasons you should leave off parts of a statement. It could be that it does not contribute anything to the subject, it is irrelevant or off-topic, or it is simply too long. In casual and fiction writing, ellipses are also used to show pauses in speech.

While ellipsis is typically shown to have three dots, there are some cases when you can put four dots to indicate an omission. This happens when the ellipsis is placed after an independent and complete sentence. It has four dots because you still need to cap off the sentence with a period.

For example:
Full text: "Call her at around four in the afternoon. That's usually the hour with the least number of customers. Tell her to bring her books to the study meeting."

Text with omissions: "Call her at around four in the afternoon.... Tell her to bring her books to the study meeting."
Know when and how to cut passages and quotations effectively for your compositions. Include the ellipsis rules listed above to your IELTS study efforts. However, keep in mind that these are only some – and not all – of the regulations that govern this reference mark. Take IELTS review center classes to learn more about ellipsis.


  • “Ellipsis.” Grammarly. Accessed May 16, 2017.
  • “Ellipses.” The Punctuation Guide. Accessed May 16, 2017.

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