In some style guides, I see this mention of putting a full-stop after an ellipsis when you are stopping the paused sentence and going onto another new sentence, but when reading several very well-known novels, I have just seen either the ellipsis alone or ellipis followed by a SPACE between two sentences so am confused as to whether I should be putting the extra full-stop in and when.

E.g. "I was ashamed...and afraid." Normal pause, so just ellipsis.

But how about:

"I was ashamed...You couldn't understand."

Is the above ok or should it be:

"I was ashamed... You couldn't understand." SPACE AFTER ELLIPSIS.

How about:

"I am not sure if I will every be able to forgive him­...."

If this is the end of the character's thought, are we supposed to add the extra full-stop?

If not, when do we use it and do authors really use it? I rarely see it.

Thanks so much to anyone who has an idea!

As an aside, I see some authors use small letters after the ellipsis even when they are starting a new clause or sentence, rather than capitals to start a new sentence.

E.g. "I was ashamed...you couldn't understand."

Is the above also acceptable?

1 Answer 1


Please note I am describing American English punctuation convention, where the quotes go outside the final punctuation mark. I am aware that British English punctuation is handlded differently.

The ellipsis is used to indicate a trailing pause.

If it's in the middle of a sentence, and you're continuing a thought, usually there's no space after the ellipsis, and the next word remains lowercase.

"I was ashamed...to tell you."

If it's at the end of a sentence — indicating that the speaker trails off but then resumes speaking, although the next words are a new sentence — you use an ellipsis, a period (closing your quotes wherever necessary), and a space. A new sentence starts with a capital letter.

"I was ashamed.... You don't know what it's like."

"I am not sure I will ever be able to forgive him...." He swallowed hard.

I personally like to use a space after an ellipsis because I think it's easier to read, but I don't think this typographical convention is widespread.

"I was ashamed... to tell you."

  • @MoniqueH Thanks. If you like the answer, click on the up arrow next to my post, and if you think this is the correct answer, mark it so by clicking on the checkmark. That's how the Stack Exchange sites work. :) Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 19:55

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