If I'm writing a dialog and my character gets interrupted and cut off in the middle of a sentence can I write half a word and put three dots? I thought it was okay to do this, but I realized that I haven't seen this in a published book (or I don't remember seeing it).

So is it okay to write half a word or I should finish the word and then put three dots?

2 Answers 2


I would finish the word with two dashes (also called an em-dash, but for traditional submission format, two regular dashes are used to indicate this), no space between the last letter of the half word and the dashes. Many editors will autocorrect two dashes to an em-dash for you. I turn that off and prefer the traditional method.

"This is redic--", Lymaba started to say, but stopped herself.

  • @LaurenIpsum Those were not typos, I do that on purpose; particularly for beginning writers.
    – Amadeus
    Aug 23, 2018 at 19:49

I try to keep the beat as much as possible in these cases, jump right into the interruption.

Lymaba scowled. "This is ridic--"
"In theory maybe," said Munky, smirking wryly. "In practice, it's exquisite."

I also generally prefer to finish the word being spoken. It just reads better to me, but that is a matter of personal taste and not a rule.

Lymaba swallowed a snarl. This man had an engine block for a brain. "Okay, so we're just gonna prance right into--"
"Emory's lab?" He scoffed and drained his beer. "Yeah. Like we own the place, because in three days..." he lobbed the empty bottle across the room, straight into the bin... "We will."

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