Due to the high density of questions related to the use of the ellipsis (...), I am not sure whether my question has already been adequately answered or not. However, in my research, I haven't found anything that address my specific question.

My question relates specifically to quoting a passage and using an ellipsis to avoid an embedded parenthetical phrase in the original text. I am specifically interested in the Chicago Manual of Style, but advice regarding other formats is welcome.

An example, pulled from Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals in which this sort of problem frequently arises:

"For, all these effects (agreeableness of one's condition, indeed even promotion of other's happiness) could have been also brought about by other causes" (4:401).

As I have already explained the effects in my paper, I would like to eliminate the content inside the parentheses. My question is: do I need to use an ellipsis to show that I have taken content out of the original text, or does the fact that it is already parenthetical (i.e., not necessary for the structure or content of the original sentence) remove the need for an ellipsis?

My passage would thus either read:

"For, all these effects . . . could have been also brought about by other causes" (4:401).


"For, all these effects could have been also brought about by other causes" (4:401).

Which (if either) is correct?

  • 1
    'For, ...'? Is this translation from Kant? Kant is dense enough without having to navigate archaic usage. Is 'for' meant to mean 'therefore' or 'hence' or 'in consequence' or something else? Anyway, the proper method is an ellipsis even if you're leaving out a parenthetical.
    – Mitch
    May 4, 2016 at 0:16

1 Answer 1


An ellipsis is punctuation, and as such, it has no grammatical role. It's job is to indicate to your reader that you have left something out of a direct quote. You must do this whether or not the thing you leave out is an aside.

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