In a sentence containing a partial quote truncated before its natural ending, how is an ellipsis used and how is the sentence punctuated?

From a comment on Stack Exchange Electrical Engineering:

@Olin: The OP clearly stated that: "Input A is ALWAYS on if input B is ON"... It's just as clear that your circuit can't satisfy those requirements, so how is my comment wrong? – EM Fields 50 mins ago

In that instance the ellipsis was used to indicate that the quoted text had been truncated, but since the ellipsis proper wasn't part of the quoted text it's unclear - to me - whether the ellipsis should have been included in or excluded from the quote, and how the sentence should have been punctuated.

  • To indicate truncation and as necessary, respectively. To give a useful answer we would need context, preferably an example. Jun 8, 2014 at 14:19

1 Answer 1


Ellipses need to be inside the quotation marks.

"Input A is ALWAYS on if input B is ON ...."

If for example you were quoting speech:

"I'm not going there on Thursday ...," she said.

However, there is differing advice amongst various style guides as to whether, for example, full stops are also needed, whether there should be a space after the ellipsis (I've included the full stop but no space in the first example), and whether the ellipsis itself should have spaces between the points. The Guardian and Observer Style Guide (of the Guardian and Observer newspapers), is used as a standard in the UK by various companies and other institutions. Despite its rather informal layout on-line (as opposed to in print), it is well respected and can be found here: Guardian Style Guide. They stipulate a space before and after the ellipsis with no requirement for a full stop at the end. If you're writing for a particular industry or about a particular field, it's best to check what the current practices are within that area.

As to whether the ellipsis was needed in the first place, it is always better to fully inform your reader and include the ellipsis. You may otherwise lay yourself open to the charge of distorting the original text.

Ellipses, of course, have other uses ...

  • 1
    Would the ellipse also need to be in square brackets like it would if it were in the middle of a quote?
    – pavja2
    Jun 8, 2014 at 21:57
  • @pavja2 No, you only use the square brackets if the missing material is in the middle of the quote. Whether or not you need to use square brackets in the middle at all also depends on who you're writing for. For example, you won't find square brackets in newspapers in the UK very much, if at all, but you'll find them in academic writing. Jun 8, 2014 at 23:44

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