What is the name for a text subdivision that is shorter than a chapter, but longer than a paragraph? They are always untitled (unlike chapters, which are at the very least called "Chapter 1", "2" etc), and denoted with either three asterisks, a longer blank space between paragraphs, or some other fancy marks.

(specifically, I'm not asking about name for the break itself, but for the section of text delimited by such breaks.)

  • 1
    I think that would be a scene. In most works I read it came when the place or characters changed, thus signaling a change in scene and in time.
    – Mussri
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 8:33
  • @Mussri: Submit that as an answer.
    – SF.
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 8:38
  • I found this question on English.SE. I'm not sure if this makes it a duplicate or...
    – Mussri
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 11:16
  • @Mussri: Not really (though the answer includes an answer to my question). See the parenthesized sentence at the end of my question.
    – SF.
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 11:35
  • @Mussri - That question does answer this, but I think this question covers a little more ground than that. In any case, I don't think duplicates on different sites are necessarily a problem. Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 14:48

5 Answers 5


A question was asked on English.SE about what the marks themselves are called.

The only answer there states that most marks that separate logical chunks of text, signaling a change in focus/time/characters (or whatever the main point of the writing is) are called 'section/scene separators'.

So I logically assume that bits of text they separate would be 'sections' or, more appropriately in fiction writing, 'scenes.'

As for my real-world experience, I've seen such marks (including a double paragraph break in more recent fiction publications) used to signal change in scenes (and therefore, time) with the connotation of 'this isn't as big a change as between chapters.'

  • There is a fundamental difference between the internal and visual structure of a text. A scene break may or may not happen at a chapter, section or paragraph break. In fact it may happen within a sentence! E.g.: "At the beach, the children laughed with their father, while at home their mother prepared dinner." Here the scene break happens at ", while". It is therefore important to not confuse terms from different structural levels.
    – user5645
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 6:25

The subdivisions of a chapter, signified by an asterism (⁂), dinkus (* * *), or extra space, are called sections.


In general, you would call this a section. For fiction, a scene (or maybe a sequence if the portion of text covers multiple scenes),

  • All of these are names for the group of paragraphs before the symbol in question. Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 14:19

In typesetting, this is sometimes called a 'dinkus' -- see here: http://www.thenewsmanual.net/Resources/glossary.html#D


It's also a sort of ellipsis signifying a break in narrative time.

  • 4
    Hiya! I'm afraid this doesn't answer the question - the original poster asked what the section is called; what you're doing is describing its purpose, which is already understood.
    – Standback
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 9:39

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