0

When using ellipsis with a question mark, how would it be written?

Would it be written as this:

"So are you going to close the door..?"

Or would it by written as this:

"So are you going to close the door...?"

My first example shows two of the ellipsis, while my other examples shows three. Which is correct?

3
  • 3
    The ellipsis is a symbol for words unwritten. The question is additional. "So, are you going to close the door... ?" (I like more space).
    – Dan
    Nov 24 '16 at 11:09
  • 3
    The dots are not single ellipses. The dots are dots. Three dots are a common way to indicate an ellipsis. Two dots are not generally considered as such an indication.
    – Helmar
    Nov 24 '16 at 15:05
  • An ellipsis is written as three dots. An ellipsis followed by a question mark is written as three dots followed by a question mark.
    – TonyK
    Oct 19 '20 at 11:27
2

From Wikipedia:

The most common form of an ellipsis is a row of three periods or full stops (. . .) or a precomposed triple-dot glyph (…). The usage of the em dash (—) can overlap the usage of the ellipsis, especially in dialogue. Style guides often have their own rules governing the use of ellipses. For example, The Chicago Manual of Style recommends that an ellipsis be formed by typing three periods, each with a space on both sides. [emphasis added]

There is no universally accepted standard for the form or use of the ellipsis. See Wikipedia, a more authoritative source, or any of a number of style manuals for additional information on the use of spaces, the role of periods, etc.

I agree with @Dan that the question mark is in addition to the ellipsis, which is its own mark of punctuation. Your second example with three dots represents common usage.

3
  • Wikipedia is not an authoritative site. Nov 24 '16 at 13:17
  • 2
    @AlanCarmack I don't disagree, but it's good enough in this case to get the point across that form and use of the ellipsis is a matter of style. Nov 24 '16 at 13:31
  • What I think you are saying, and I agree with you, is that the three-dot ellipsis, when it is accepted as valid, is a piece of punctuation in its own right and not a row of three dots. As such the dot at the base of a question mark or exclamation mark cannot replace the third dot of the ellipsis as an ellipsis, a question mark, an exclamation mark and a full stop (sorry, I'm British, a period is a length of time to me) are four separate pieces of punctuation.
    – BoldBen
    Oct 19 '20 at 6:12
0

The Chicago Manual of Style now (2018) accepts the use of the precomposed triple-dot glyph (…) ctl+alt+period (in MS Word).

1
  • 1
    Okay, but that doesn't really cover which, if any, other forms might be acceptable, or what to do when the triple-dot character isn't available. Or, more to the point, whether the use of a question mark makes any difference.
    – nnnnnn
    Jun 21 '20 at 7:03
0

According to the rule that defines the ellipsis it is always represented by a sequence of three dots, or in modern fonts, by the ellipsis character, that is made of a character with the three dots in it.

Examples of the three dots sequence: ...
And the three dots character: …
(You can copy and paste the one and the other in a text editor program and change the font to a monospace font like Courier to appreciate the differences)

So by definition, and replying to the question “Is it two or three ellipsis when using it with a question mark?”: It is one ellipsis (which is always made up of three dots).

You can find the definition in any english dictionary, for instance: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/ellipsis Check the section “ellipsis noun (PRINTED MARK)”.

Using your example, the correct one would be:

"So are you going to close the door...?"

Also according to The Chicago manual of Style Online; [16th ed.] 13.52 Ellipses with other punctuation “(…), a colon, a semicolon, a question mark, or an exclamation point — may precede or follow three (but...never four) ellipsis points.(…)”

So, your eample can also be:

"So are you going to close the door? ..."

3
  • Is the space (? ...) in the second case only intentional? Jun 7 at 16:46
  • As a styling option, it’s preferable to put the ellipsis after the question mark because the sentence is complete: "So are you going to close the door?..." And to put it before the question mark if the sentence is incomplete: "So are you going to close the…?" This rule is recommended in some languages, for instance, the Spanish language.
    – Valdemar
    Jun 7 at 16:49
  • The space (?...) in the second case is a matter of style and it’s optional. It can be with or without the space. I find it more readable with the space because the sentence seems to be complete.
    – Valdemar
    Jun 7 at 16:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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