So I was reading a narrative and I came across an ellipse. I know that ellipses are used sometimes to mark ommissions in a quote, however, what does it mean when it is used between paragraphs - and I'm not referring to quotes paragraphs.


paragraph 1


paragraph 2

I think it is used to mark a change of scenes or time, but I'm not exactly sure if that is correct. But if that is the case, can it also be used to switch from the first person to the third person?

  • 2
    I'd generally interpret it to mean that paragraphs were elided, but it may instead (depending on context) represent some passage of time.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jun 27, 2018 at 1:41

1 Answer 1


There are all kinds of styles that can be used for scene breaks.

I have never seen ellipses used to mark a scene break—although that doesn't mean it's never done.

Perhaps instead of ellipses (...), three periods, what you saw were actually interpuncts (···), three vertically centred dots.

When using symbols, they are normally centred on the page.

Common symbols are one or three number signs (# ###) or asterisks (* ***).

In manuscripts prior to publication, a single number sign seems to be the most common. In published books, the use of three asterisks seems to be the most common.

Some publishers simply use an empty line, and published books may use a graphical divider.

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