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The quote goes:

So next time someones complains that you have made a mistake, tell them that may be a good thing, because without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.

I only want the last part:

Without imperfection neither you nor I would exist.

Would I write it like so, or use an ellipsis at the start:

. . . Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.

I guess that if I used an ellipsis, it wouldn’t have a capital letter on without, would it?

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Instead of an ellipsis, you can use square brackets to indicate light editing in a quotation. They are often used to add minor clarifications or make the quoted text better fit the context, and they're specifically used for the case you're asking about:

Additionally, a small letter can be replaced by a capital one, when the beginning of the original text is omitted for succinctness, for example, when referring to a verbose original.

For example: “[W]ithout imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.”

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For me: "... without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist."

  • Please explain why. In my view, it would depend on context. Following OP's question, your suggestion would be incorrect at the beginning of a sentence because there would be no capital letter. In mid-sentence, if the quotation begins with a small letter it is obviously mid-sentence in the original and so an ellipsis is superfluous. In many cases an ellipsis is necessary only when words are omitted in the middle of a quotation. – TrevorD Aug 31 '13 at 11:35

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