Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This is a problem that has long troubled me.

Imagine that I have a block of prose organized in three paragraphs. I want to construct a single quotation that contains only the first and third paragraph.

I use ellipsis if I want to tell readers that I am skipping sentences in a quotation. How do I tell readers that the quotation is skipping a paragraph?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

You can use an ellipsis, typeset on a line by itself (or paragraph).

The first paragraph of the quotation.

[…]

The third paragraph of the quotation.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 — This is what I would do, but curiously the AP Stylesheet is silent on this issue. It covers what to do if a deletion occurs at the end of one paragraph and continues into the next, but not omission of entire paragraphs. –  Robusto Feb 27 '11 at 19:02

I agree with ShreevatsaR, but I would also suggest that you could also provide a small bit of linking text, like so:

"Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah."

Further on, he elaborated on the point:

"Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah."

If an ellipsis is going to take an entire paragraph anyway, a bit of text takes up no more room and may add clarity. Use your judgment. Here are some types of linking text I would use.

Later, he seems to refine his assertion:

or

After a little more descriptive text, he finally gets to the point:

or

While that seems forceful enough by itself, Ms. Peters later on delivers this devastating critique:

And so on. Obviously the linking text would depend on the subject and the type of narrative that's being interrupted by your deletion.

share|improve this answer
    
Oh yes +1, this is definitely better. And "later on" can also be "two paragraphs later" if one wants to indicate precisely how much was skipped. :-) –  ShreevatsaR Feb 27 '11 at 19:44
    
Doing this will definitely make your writing much more readable. –  tankadillo Feb 28 '11 at 2:21
    
I think the fourth blah in the third paragraph is slightly off. Just my .02. –  Cerberus Feb 28 '11 at 3:26
    
@Cerberus: Perfectionist! :P –  Robusto Feb 28 '11 at 13:49

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.