8

Occasionally I see someone write out sentences,,, like this,,, with exactly three commas. The first time I saw it I thought it was a personal idiosyncrasy, but I've seen it enough times now that I wonder: is there some obscure origin or history to this practice?

It is also documented in the book Kill Reply All, but with no indication of its origin other than that it is "nascent":

Grammar traditionalists, look away now, but you might even witness some people using the nascent "comma-ellipsis"—an ellipsis made of two or three commas instead of full stops. This is by no means widely used, and only ever in a very informal context,,,

The nuances of the comma ellipsis have not yet been codified, but a callout to my Twitter followers garnered several potential explanations, with some people suggesting that it indicates irony or is meant as a less "serious" version of the regular ellipsis, which to some people apparently looks a bit angry these days...

6
  • 11
    I have never seen three consecutive commas in English (as opposed to computer) text except when the commas were typos for periods (...) that the author had intended to use as ellipsis points.
    – Sven Yargs
    Feb 24, 2015 at 3:33
  • 1
    Did you just invent a new practice? Or were you reading materials where the author had invented a new practice that no one else in the world is practicing? Feb 24, 2015 at 4:33
  • 1
    Someone was saying online the other day "triple comma is proper to indicate additional pause for dramatic effect and camera shots ,,,." -- perhaps, used in transcripts.
    – Kris
    Feb 24, 2015 at 6:34
  • 1
    @tchrist: The "comma ellipsis" is a relatively new phenomenon, but it's become pretty prevalent in some circles online, to the point where it is something that people will reasonably ask. I don't see why it would be off-topic for this site - a nonstandard English usage, granted, but one that users of this site may well come across and ask about. What would it take to re-open this question?
    – psmears
    Nov 30, 2020 at 15:40
  • 1
    The vote to close as off-topic and the dismissive answers seem out of touch. There's some discussion of comma ellipsis here babbel.com/en/magazine/comma-ellipses Jan 17 at 16:49

2 Answers 2

3

(,,, like this,,,)-type writing style is not a proper English writing style. Moreover, we normally use dots for ellipses not commas. However, I have seen (,,, like this,,,)-type writing style in web media in other languages than English due to wrong usage of two-alphabet keyboard (one alphabet being the English alphabet) where the key that has the sign for dot can be confused with the English alphabet key for commas,,,.Or it may be just laziness on the part of the person typing in the web site, bearing in mind that most web users have not received any typing lessons in their own language or in English using a dual alphabet keyboard.

1
  • 2
    It may not be formal English, but that does not make it wrong or an accident. It is online slang, generally used to indicate a more emphasized trail-off, somewhat like a mixture between an ellipsis and comma, like you'd hear after saying "anyhow".
    – Azsgy
    Sep 28, 2020 at 13:48
-1

I've always used ',,,' and the only origin I can think of was I interpreted that from a handwritten version of '...' where the periods were slightly elongated out of haste. Also I don't recall a time where I was ever corrected for using three commas on either handwritten or typed essays.

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