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I was talking to a friend of mine over Skype, and I typed this:

Ok... Now I want more pork pie.

I'd like to know, should there be a capital letter after the ellipsis ? Should it be written the way I typed it:

Ok... Now I want more pork pie.

Or should it be a lowercase N:

Ok... now I want more pork pie.

Do ellipses break a sentence so that a new one must be started after them (hence the capital N), or do they behave similarly to commas and dashes in that they serve as a "pause", with a lowercase N?

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1  
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellipsis –  MετάEd Jul 4 '12 at 19:57

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Most writers would use a comma in OP's example, not an ellipsis. So the issue wouldn't arise there anyway. Probably the writer intended "Okay...blah blah" to make the reader "internally vocalise" it as "Okaaaaaay, blah blah".

In general, it really depends on whether you consider the ellipsis represents an "empty" pause at the end of a preceding sentence. If so, what follows is a new sentence, and it starts with a capital letter.

If you think the ellipsis represents a delay within an as-yet-incomplete sentence, but you've decided you don't want indicate that delay using some other punctuation (comma, semicolon, etc.), then just continue the sentence without a capital.

Effectively, it's partly the exact context, and partly stylistic preference. I'd say if in doubt, consider using a comma instead of an ellipsis. If that doesn't feel right, you should probably capitalise.

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The first word after an ellipsis is capitalized if it begins a new grammatical sentence.¹

¹CMoS, 13.51.

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In the example, "now" does not definitely begin a new sentence, so your rule does not definitely apply. For example the ellipse in the example may represent an intentional silence in the middle of the sentence (replacing a comma). In that case the word "now" does not take an initial capital. –  MετάEd Jul 4 '12 at 20:42
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While I think you are mostly right, I would add that there is an element of writer intent. Therefore in the OP's example, 'now' could be capitalized, not must be. It depends on if the writer is aiming more for "Ok, now I want..." or "Ok. Now I want...". –  chaiguy Jul 4 '12 at 20:43
    
@chaiguy yes you are right I edited my answer. In the light of the cmos' statement the user can decide if s/he has to capitalize or not. –  user19148 Jul 4 '12 at 20:53
    
In that case, there should be four dots, three for the ellipsis and one for the period. –  asmeurer Dec 20 '12 at 5:13

All of your answers are correct, but it is up to the person writing the sentence. If he/she wants to emphasize a word then he/she would use a capital letter on the next word.

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How can all of the other answers be correct if it's always up to the writer? And I don't think capitalizing the first word of a sentence places particular emphasis on that first word; could you explain why you think capitalization in this case is a form of emphasis? –  Marthaª Dec 20 '12 at 4:14

protected by kiamlaluno Dec 20 '12 at 5:18

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