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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "ellipses")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Avoid using periods and spaces}
An em{ellipsis} (plural em{ellipses}) is a sequence of three dots used to indicate an omission in quoted material.
The ellipsis is frequently approximated by typing three periods in a row, which puts the dots too close together, or three periods with spaces in between, which puts the dots too far apart. So use your fonts ellipsis character, not the approximations.
The problem with using periods and word spaces is that it permits your word processor to break the ellipsis across lines or pages, like so:
captioned["wrong"]{font-scale[2]{imperative to . .
. courts}}
Should you put word spaces around an ellipsis? As with the em dash (see xref{hyphens and dashes}), thats up to you. Typically youll want spaces before and after, but if that looks odd, you can take them out. If theres text on only one side of the ellipsis, use a xref{nonbreaking space} on that side so the ellipsis doesnt get separated from the text.
Ive often wondered whether the zigzagging illogic of the em{Bluebook} is calculated to protect its franchiseafter all, if legal citation were distilled to a few simple rules, no one would need the em{Bluebook}. Its subtitleA Uniform System of Citationcompresses a lot of dark humor into five words.
One problem with the em{Bluebook}s four-dot-sequence rules is that they use the same visual markfour periods separated by spaces to denote at least four distinct conditions. Namely: a deletion before a sentence-ending period (rule 5.3(b)(iii)); a sentence-ending period before a deletion (rule 5.3(b)(v)); a deletion both at the end and after the end of a sentence (rule 5.3(b)(vi)); and a deletion of one or more paragraphs (rule 5.1(a)(iii)). This invites ambiguity. When readers come upon a four-dot sequence, how do they know what it signifies? It may not be clear from context. Proper ellipses would help distinguish these conditions.