On a particular piece of dialogue and I wasn't sure if this was correct or just a matter of style.

"[...] your shield, you don’t deserve..., nor how can I put into the line?”

My question is the use of ellipsis in quotes, here 'you don't deserve' is its own clause, is it ok to use the "..." to denote an additional pause, or should I just stick with the comma?

Edit: There is more preceding your shield, I just kept it short for brevity sake.

2 Answers 2


No, you should not put a comma after an ellipsis. Use either the ellipsis by itself or the comma by itself. Wikipedia has an example of an ellipsis immediately followed by a comma, but this is abnormal in the context of writing dialogue. It would not contribute to a natural feel.

Also, you don't deserve isn't its own clause, it is you don't deserve your shield (one clause) rearranged into your shield you don't deserve. No comma. Edit: I'll let this drop, since the example lacks sufficient context to determine the form of the sentence.

I can't comment very well on the second part of the verse, since I don't know what it means or how it relates to the first part. All I can say is that assuming the second part does make sense, the following is a better option:

[...] your shield, you don’t deserve... nor how can I put into the line?

  • 1
    In my defense, I just shortened the quotation, so there is more before 'your shield'. I was just trying to convey a pause, where "you don't deserve..." , as if the speaker trails off. Sep 29, 2011 at 0:45
  • OK, since you want the speaker to trail off, you probably do want the ellipsis, not the comma. I still don't know what the second part means, though.
    – Daniel
    Sep 29, 2011 at 0:57

Your partial ellipsis (two dots rather than three), followed by a comma, would confuse most readers, and many would interpret the comma as a typographic error.

An ellipsis in dialogue like this does suggest a pause, and perhaps a break in train of thought. I have no clue about the meaning of the second part of the quotation, so have no suggestions there. You may find Kate Sherwood's What is a beat? answer useful.

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