The Case Against Ellipsis Manipulation

Many users of social networks speak passively. Lamentably, most do not even know it. One may have something crucial to say; yet the impact of one’s statement trails off in ambiguity with the overuse of the ellipsis. The ellipsis has a proper usage; however, on the internet, it is most often misused and abused.

It is not surprising to see internet patrons abuse grammar. The quickness and instantaneousness of the internet encourages (regrettably) the transcendence of grammar. The rules of the ellipsis are some of the most ignored. Further, the ellipsis has been manipulated into a misused staple of the internet. It is used to trail off sentences and connect thoughts that ought be two separate sentences. This is wrong. Society must take hold of the laws of grammar once again. Why is this important? There are numerous answers to this question, yet the most important answer to be stressed is that one can communicate a thought with the boldness and directness it deserves.

The poor ellipsis is abused everyday. Those three wonderful dots are everyone’s friend. Yet, the ellipsis seems to be the friend who everyone takes advantage of. So…how do social network users violate the ellipsis…well…it’s just like this…so easy…these three dots can connect anything…while never completing a thought…

No! This is never what the ellipsis is meant for. So, then, what are the rules of the ellipsis? Below are two common rules:

(1) The ellipsis is used as an indicator of omitted words when one is quoting another source. Take this quote from Søren Kierkegaard for example: “God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners.”

If one wanted to shorten this quote, one would properly use the ellipsis. The quote would then look like this: “God creates out of nothing…but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners.”

(2) The ellipsis can be used as a literary device for ambiguity. Yet, this must be done with tact and care. It ought not be done willy-nilly. This usage of the ellipsis is most often found in fiction and comic books. This usage of the ellipsis is very rare. Most writers desire to be direct, make their point and continue on with their thesis. Do not use the ellipsis for a statement like “God is love.” Compare that direct, meaningful sentence to this: “God is love…” There is nothing ambiguous about the sentence “God is love.” That statement is direct, true and propositionally conveys an important message. If one were to put an ellipsis after this, thus trailing off an important statement, it implies that there is something ambiguous about God’s love – a subject that is complete, total and pure.

Friends, I implore you to be direct. Use the mind that you have to communicate your important message. Your thoughts are too valuable to have them trail off into passivity and ambiguity. I am no grammar expert, but I strive to better familiarize myself with the rules of grammar. Reconnect with grammar. Use capitalization, correct punctuation and complete sentences. Be direct. Don’t let the quickness of the internet manipulate your thoughts into fragmented ambiguity.

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