I thought it was an ellipses, but ellipses only typically have three dots. Are there good use cases or is there a good justification to using four dots instead of three?

I cam across a poem by Rupert Brooke and it uses four dots instead of three.


For if my echoing footfall slept,

Soon a far whispering there'd be

Of a little lonely wind that crept

From tree to tree, and distantly

Followed me, followed me. . . .

The use of these four dots seems to indicate ellipses, but I am trying to think of a good rationale to using four dots instead of three. Is there a particular rhetorical or stylistic effect that the author is trying to accomplish by using four dots instead of three?

2 Answers 2


An ellipsis is a single symbol that appears as three dots and indicates incomplete content, whether left out or not finished. You can make an ellipsis on a keyboard by pressing the Option and Semicolon keys together.

It does not consist of three periods, technically. A period is a single symbol consisting of one dot to indicate full stop. Also, an ellipsis does not function as a full stop, such as the question and exclamation marks do. You could use an ellipsis mid-sentence. Therefore, if at the end of a sentence, it takes a period and would look like this … .


Ellipsis is usually used to show something has been left out.

However, sometimes people use it to show something trailing off, usually speech. In this case they may use four or more dots.

As well, occasionally if something is left out and the sentence ends, people will use four dots, often with a space between the third and fourth dot.

When I was younger, it was common for three or four dots to indicate someone was interrupted. Now, most people use a dash.

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