I use the ellipsis quite a bit in my writing.

Most often in dialogue.

Are there any resources out there that give relatively expert opinion about how many ellipses/word count are too many?

  • 1
    Because there's no regulatory body for English, probably not. Show your writing to other people. After they've read it, ask them if you overuse ellipses. If you show it to a bunch of people and they all say that you overuse them, you do.
    – rsegal
    Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 13:13
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    They're only overused if you...
    – Ronan
    Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 13:46
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    "Ellipsis" is often used to refer to deletion rules, like conjunction reduction (e.g, Bill washed and Mary dried the dishes, where the first occurrence of the dishes is deleted). Giving an example of what you mean instead of relying on technical terminology that may be ambiguous or vague is generally a good idea. Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 14:16

1 Answer 1


While @rsegal is right about there not being any regulatory bodies, you might want to check out the following links:

  • The Punctuation Guide's notes about the ellipsis

  • This page from Answers.com (ack!), which has the following, quite reasonable I think, advice:

    There is a pretty easy litmus test about using ellipses in a work of fiction. Just ask yourself, "Can I possibly use anything else to describe this particular kind of pause? Do I even need this pause, or can my audience figure it out on their own?" If you come to the conclusion that using the ellipsis is absolutely necessary, you're fine. If not, try something else.

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