I just saw on the news that today is the first ever National Punctuation Day
. As a tip of the hat, how about a little lesson on ellipses? The singular is "ellipsis," (...) and they are typically used to indicate words that have been omitted, particularly in quoted sentences or passages. You use it to draw attention to only the parts of the quote that you're interested in, or to cut down on the excess. Basically you use it to misquote someone, taking their message out of context, or taking their words and shaping them into something that supports your point, but in a way that is actually supported by the grammarians of the world!
If words are omitted at the end of a quoted sentence, use ellipsis marks followed by the necessary ending punctuation mark.
Original: The article noted, "The United States has won seven gold medals in these Olympic Games."
Elliptical: The article noted, "The United States has won seven gold medals...."
Another example: "Can you tell me what happened to...?"
You'll notice in the first example that there are four dots. Really it is an ellipsis followed by the sentence-closing period. Another rule, if sentences are omitted between other sentences within a quotation, use ellipsis marks after the ending punctuation mark of the preceding sentence.
The United States has won seven gold medals.... Can you tell me what happened to Michael Phelps when he raced against Ian Thorpe?
Note that it is pretty much a matter of house style whether you have spaces between the dots of the ellipsis, and whether you have one before the ellipsis. Also, it seems that in the internet age of typed communication, where it is difficult to indicate inflection, we have come to use the ellipsis as a pause in speech...technically this is not correct because there are no actual words that we're omitting, but oh well. Some people (.) have taken this ellipsis liberty to a new level and have begun the ghastly practice of only using two (2) dots (..) to indicate an ellipsis...!