1

If midway in a multi-paragraph quotation, a paragraph begins with one or more paragraphs prior (in between) omitted and the line starts mid-sentence, does one ellipsis convey both of these? If one ellipsis is meant to cover both these conditions, then how does the reader know the difference?

CMOS §13.56: Ellipses for the omission of whole or partial paragraphs: "The omission of one or more paragraphs within a quotation is indicated by a period followed by an ellipsis at the end of the paragraph preceding the omitted part.... If the first part of a paragraph is omitted within a quotation, a paragraph indent and an ellipsis appear before the first quoted word. It is thus possible to use an ellipsis both at the end of one paragraph and at the beginning of the next...."

6
  • How to indicate ellipses is an issue that would usually be dealt with by style guides. Have you looked at any? What did they say? Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 2:45
  • Yes, I've combed Chicago Manual of Style for days and its somewhat lackluster official forum posting the question there just now. Chicago advises no ellipsis at the start of a quotation, I'm aware, but what of the case of a subsequent paragraph, preceded by an omission, in a long quotation? I don't see an example or explanation that addresses all these conditions: 1. Preceding paragraphs quoted, so it's midway in a multi-paragraph quotation; 2. Preceding sentences in the relevant paragraph omitted; 3. Quoted portion of paragraph begins mid-sentence. Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 2:58
  • 1
    Great! Please include that information in the question, as comments may be removed at any time. (Some people will vote to close the question if they don't see evidence of research effort, and that info is also useful for people who may want to refer to CMOS when trying to answer.) Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 3:13
  • 1
    If it's important, state explicitly where the paragraph break is and how it is paragraphed. If it's not important, it doesn't matter. Even if there is a very obscure rule, it's not likely that readers will be aware of it.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 10:11
  • ... for instance "the author buries this point in the middle of a paragraph, while other points are accorded a paragraph of their own."
    – Stuart F
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 10:17

1 Answer 1

-1

This is the first paragraph.
...
the end of a sentence from the third paragraph.

I think we can all agree that this ↑ looks ugly

This is the first paragraph.
...
...the end of a sentence from the third paragraph.

This looks better. Yes, the repeated sign of ellipsis looks a bit odd and redundant, because technically we're dealing with one big ellipsis. But beginning a line from which something was omitted without using ellipsis in that line, as in my first 'quotation', is just very ugly, and possibly misleading, because it doesn't show that something was omitted from that sentence. Using the two signs of ellipsis, however, is very clear to readers.

2
  • Is this something you've just made up? Most style guides say that the contents of quotations should accord with basic grammar and punctuation, which this doesn't by not starting the second sentence with a capital letter.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 10:16
  • 1
    @StuartF: I agree with you: this is ugly, and hardly ever warranted. But the asker specifically required the second paragraph to begin in the middle of a sentence, in which case there is no way to avoid ugliness. Under those constraints, there is no other way, is there? Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 13:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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