I am sure that this wouldn't have much meaning, but still want to get acknowledged whether usage of double dots is formal.

I have observed people using double dots in business Emails. Usually while adding additional recipients to the thread. example:

Adding XYZ..

I would like to know the specific meaning of it.

In the world of music, placing double dots .. infront of note is a shortcut, it signifies addition of its next level note.

EDIT: Does it specify an infinite Pause? Infinite .. I mean by unsure (not never ending).

In general case, if I use this .. in my statement what would it mean?

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    possible duplicate of What is the proper way of using triple dots and spaces before/after them? Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 14:40
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    @FumbleFingers, seems like you didn't read the question properly or didn't read at all .. Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 5:37
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    @infant programmer 'Aravind': Well, I can't see how two dots can ever mean anything different to three dots - so it seems to me it's just a nonstandard way of writing the ellipsis. It looks as if you're hoping to be told it's got some specialised meaning, and that you can validly use the two- and three-dot forms within the same passage of writing, expecting others to recognise your distinction. I just don't think you can, so if your specific usage isn't covered in the original question then it should be. We don't need another separate question here just for two dots, imho. Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 12:41
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    @FumbleFingers, I came across double dots, so I came up with this question, I have had collected information about ellipsis before asking the question. I assumed it can't be ellipsis thats wrong spelled. So asked a question. The accepted answer also notifies about Ellipsis. Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 13:22
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    @FumbleFingers, Understood. :) So you believe ellipsis and double-dots are same? well. Thank you. Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 13:50

7 Answers 7


As far as I know, double dots isn't actually an established punctuation mark (unlike the three-dot ellipsis), but you can see it a lot in informal written online communications.

I think that it comes from overuse of the ellipsis. The ellipsis is overused in emails/Facebook statuses/chats because it's a rather vague and unspecific mark when people sort of ramble with their thoughts and don't frame them in well-defined sentences. I'm not saying this critically or pejoratively but as an observation on the less-formally structured form of online communications.

So the double-dot, I believe, represents a grass-roots construction that's like a less-dramatic and less-drastic ellipsis. It is perhaps intended to be a shorter pause -- less meandering and long-winded.

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    I find you answer interesting and agreeable. I will wait for some more responses.. before declaring Best answer :) Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 8:41

A legitimate use of dots is in a quotation from which a part is missing. This piece of punctuation is, as others have said, ellipsis and normally consists of three dots. The only place I have seen two dots is in quotations in the Oxford English Dictionary, where they are used to save space.

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    I wonder if a double-dot isn't meant to be a shorthand version of the ellipsis, being informally adapted in text messages, which are limited to 160 characters. (An 3-dot ellipsis can be a rather "expensive" punctuation mark, taking up nearly 2% of the allotted characters in a message). Just wondering aloud..
    – J.R.
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 10:07
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    @J.R. Possibly, but you may want to develop that into an answer. Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 11:16
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    Note that the OED uses two mid··dots, not two full..stops, for their special form of ellipsis.
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 2, 2012 at 17:04
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    @J.R. That's technically unnecessary because there is an ellipsis character in unicode, which would use even less space: … However, without specifying the number, most people use periods regardless simply because they are more accessible on the keyboard and the main practical difference is character wraparound.
    – Tonepoet
    Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 2:09

As a young copywriter, I first noticed use of the two-dot ellipsis as a space saver in Sears Roebuck's 1964 catalogs.

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    Is there an example of that?
    – user57234
    Commented Jun 30, 2013 at 8:13

An ellipsis (...) is used to denote that something is being left out of the sentence in formal writing, or someone's voice or thought that is fading in informal writing.

The two dots are used by people that don't understand that there are supposed to be three dots. They think, by leaving out one of the dots, they're being smart because it doesn't mark the end of a sentence. In reality, the three dots mean it isn't the end of the sentence, and the four dots mean it does. The three dots represent trailing off or leaving something out in the middle of a sentence. The four dots represent fading or leaving something out at the end of a sentence. That's a little confusing so I'll give you an example.

People that use two dots -

Middle of a sentence: I don't know what you want to be..for Halloween.

End of a sentence: I don't have plans...What are you doing for Halloween?

What it's supposed to look like -

Middle of a sentence: I don't know what you want to be...for Halloween.

End of a sentence: I don't have plans....What are you doing for Halloween?

Same thing would happen if you had an explanation point or question mark.

People that use two dots -

End of a sentence: I don't..have plans. What are you doing for Halloween..?

What it's supposed to look like -

End of a sentence: I don't...have plans. What are you doing for Halloween...?

The two dots don't have a real meaning, it's just used online by people that think they know what they're doing. Sorry if I sound bitter, but this is actually one of my biggest pet peeves. =D

  • Ellipsis, not elipse
    – Charles
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 17:58

Three dots is formally correct to skip parts of a sentence or paragraph when quoting another party for an essay e.g.,

The mountain had crystals in it... above the clouds was a rainbow.

Because you don't need to write the whole paragraph you're trying to give evidence.

Two dots is an informal and cute way of implying there is something else to say, except philosophically you don't need to say it at that moment, so it's more of a short-cut, and yes two dots is quicker that three since the latter means something else, formally any-way.

The two dot version is developing its own meaning. Graphically, it's different and reflects how the person is writing. Definitely, our writing, the way we communicate in our lives, and the way we transmit this communication is changing.

So I agree with how two dots is a quick shortening mid-sentence, to cut it all short when you actually don't know what's next or want to keep it open. It's more poetic and a modern thing with social media, iPhones and emails. When you want to be brief and are implying something else. I think it's grammatical implication and meaning is developing.

I use 4 dots for a similar poetic meaning like when you are ending something with an indefinite thought at the end, more of an artistic label. E.g. “With love....” Sometimes 8 “for lots of love........x

So the shortened 2 dots is a short pause, when there's no time to get further into it and it's left open-ended. 3 dots is a formal gap with a meaning of omission in formal writing, or meaning you have left out what us to come. 4 dots is an ending, provoking more thought. 3 dots you can also use correctly to change topic...it's the most formally correct if you're writing properly.

From what I've experienced and studied in language, literacy, grammar and literature. I think there is a new place for two dots and agree some people will misuse it for the formally correct three dots. The shorter, I would use for a thought or informal conversation. When I'm not committing to make a formal '...' statement. Like if texting with a friend while shopping, e.g.

“Do you like the pink dress?” “It's alright.. Maybe lets go to Bondi?”

So this means I'm still deciding, part way through and I'm unsure. I could more formally write

“It's alright...maybe lets go to Bondi?”

To me this is more definitive. It's two different ways of texting/writing/communicating and a different style of writing.

We use two dots knowing three dots is correct so, it does have a meaning and place whether it not it is misused!

  • On keyboards, there is an ellipsis character (e.g., option+semicolon on macOS), and then a period character. I use each one for their intended purpose. However, I first started seeing usage of the double-period on the internet, being used where an ellipsis should be used. Straight-up: It doesn't exist in the english language. It's an internet-ism. Commented Jul 11, 2023 at 21:01

I haven't seen double dots, but an ellipsis (three dots) is quite common.

As an ellipsis is usually used in English to indicate an omission, my assumption is that this originally came about when the writer wanted to explain the addition of the extra recipients etc., and has become common through use.

  • Yes. Ellipsis signifies something unknown or unsure. Double dot may be.. a pause? :) Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 8:39

In your example, it seems to be a misuse of double dots. To my understanding, double dots are used for leaving out something from within a sentence, to clarify the difference between when something is left out from within a sentence; (double dots) when something is left out that includes more than one sentence (three dots).

On the other hand, grammar is a fluid thing. Unless you are writing formally, it's fine to have quite a bit of variation.

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    This answer needs substantiation in the form of reliable sources. According to this article, three dots are standard, except that the (huge) OED, which consists largely of quotations, is forced to use two dots as a space-saving device.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 16:14
  • Welcome to ELU & thanks for your contribution. Please note that answers in this site are generally expected to be substantiated by a recognised authority. Hence I have to ask, where did "your understanding" come from? This is especially so, because most of the other answers directly contradict your assertion here.
    – TrevorD
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 16:16

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