Lately, i've been noticing a heavy use of ellipsis punctuation by the punctuation illiterate, when ellipsis is entirely not appropriate grammatically, and something like, say, a comma or even a period or even (gasp!) a transistion between thoughts might be called for.

Freakish thing one: This usage might be contagious via frequent email. i believe it has been spread to just about the entire company i work at by one individual.

Freakish thing two: Evil spawn of bad ellipsis. The punctuation ,,, has been invented! I believe as of yet it is confined to email conversation, and has not made its way to official memos or literature. However, my gut feeling is that there is something terribly malignant about ,,,.

Also found in Anime-based video game dialogue, such as that found in the old Nintendo game Golgo 13: Top Secret Mission.

Cherry Grace: "I am here to brief you on your mission."
Golgo 13: "..."
Cherry Grace: "You need to kill the evil people, stop the virus, and have sex with me."
Golgo 13: "..."
Cherry Grace: "Do you need anything?"
Golgo 13: "..."
Golgo 13: "..."
Golgo 13: "Ammunition."
In addition to being used in anime and japanese video games a lot, an other interesting thing to note about this "..." is that a lot of TTS programs I've enountered pronounce this as "and so on".

You just gotta fire up the Amiga from time to time, and type in:
"................................................................................................................" just to hear it say "and so on and so on and so on and so on and so on and so on and so on and so on and so on and so on and so on and so on and so on and so on"

actually, if you do this with any text, in a text-to-speech program, you'll be reminded that it sounds nothing like a human voice at all.
In C and C++, the ellipsis is used in the formal parameter list of a function to indicate that the function has a variable number of arguments.

For example:

int foo (int a, int b, ...)

tells the compiler that foo takes at least two arguments, and possibly more.

In the body of the function, use the macros va_start and va_arg to extract the values of the arguments.

You should avoid variable arguments like the plague in C and never use variable arguments in C++.
GUI usage: In pull-down menus and buttons, the "..." in the end of the command name in menus and buttons often means that the menu/button will open a dialog box (the idea: the action is not immediate and the program needs to know more). This is the case in Windows and MacOS, also most of the UNIX software these days.

For example, in Netscape, Edit/Preferences... will open the Preferences dialog.

According to the Associated Press Style Book and Libel Manual, the ellipsis is to be treated as a three-character word (and yes, in AP style, there are always three periods), with spaces on both sides.

There is a bit more to the correct use of the horizontal ellipsis (Unicode 0x2026, HTML entity #133, the venerable option-semicolon a Mac).

When used to indicate the ommision of one or more sentences, as in a quotation, it should be preceeded by a period and a space, as in "First sentence. Second sentence. Fifth sentence."

Much as it is used in set abbreviation: {0, 1, , n}

The message that inaugurated the planet Earth as a radio civilization, one hundred years ago today.

Three dots are the Morse code letter S. It was transmitted from Poldhu in Cornwall, and received by Guglielmo Marconi in a hut on Signal Hill in Newfoundland, on 12 December 1901:

It was about half past 12, when I heard three little clicks in the earphones. Several times they sounded, but I hardly dared believe. The electric waves that were being sent out from Poldhu had traversed the Atlantic, serenely ignoring the curvature of the Earth, which so many doubters had told me would be a fatal obstacle.

He had experimented with short-distance radio communication before, with one message sent the 200 km from the Isle of Wight to the Lizard Peninsula, on 23 January that year. But the transatlantic transmission, with signals bounced off the ionosphere, proved that the entire planet could be spanned.

Celebrations and reconstructions are taking place in Cornwall and Newfoundland.

May I also note (although I hesitate as this is already a full node) that Nietzsche used this "..." to finish off some statements in his books, as a mark to point out that this train of thought had no real ending, or to state that there was no more he could say about it. He used in a rather strange fashion though, to end a statement on a ambiguous note.

I just wanted to point out that the use of "..." is not a new invention but was used in the 1800's!

"I have nothing left to do tonight, so I'll do that."

"Do what?"


"You can't do nothing."

"Nonsense. See this new thing I'm doing now?" Long pause. "We'll call that 'nothing'."

"Nothing is new under the sun."

"I'm glad you're coming around."

"No. Witless labeling aside, you really think you're the first to call something 'nothing'? Thinking was called 'nothing' once. Sleeping was called 'nothing' once. In every case of something called 'nothing', someone realized that the so-called nothing-doer was really causing the world to change in a previously unnamed way. You can't say you're doing something new when you're really doing something old. Nothing can do nothing, see?"

"Perhaps I'm nothing, then."

"Nonsense. If you're nothing, then I'm a friend to nothing—not a friend at all. I'm nothing if not a friend."

The sun shone down on grass flattened under new nothing.

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