Are the ellipsis used like em-dashes or pauses in these examples? They are not omitting information but rather feel like unneccessary breaks in the sentence where commas should be used.

I ask because I'd use the ellipis only for missing information, and not breaks in the sentence. But clearly they are used as pauses here. Any right or wrong in this and how does this usage differ from an em-dash if at all.

This felt ... like a fan film that managed to get everybody back that was in the original

[It] isn't a perfect movie ... but it's a far more faithful and respectful version of the original.

I'm not the same horror fan I was before because death is a lot more real today... but believe me... I like good horor... and it delivered.

Forty years after the original ... we finally get a good sequel in this franchise.


1 Answer 1


Ellipses can be used to indicate pauses, as if for thought or reflection, hesitation, uncertainty, strong emotion, and any other related situation. As with any punctuation, they can be used skillfully or clumsily.

When intended as pauses, they are (in my opinion) often either artificial, like an uncomfortably long pause in an oration, or doltish, as if the writer is a slow thinker who has trouble thinking of what to say.

For example the first sentence feels like a quote with missing information. If it's meant to be a pause for reflection, then it makes no sense. The writer should have decided what to say before writing it down, or at least edited afterward to remove any markers of indecision.

It's even worse in the third example, with multiple places where the writer couldn't figure out where to go and just rambled on, writing down whatever thoughts popped up.

Which isn't to say you should never use the ellipsis. Just use it sparingly and properly, in a context where it will convey the right impression.

Two exceptions where multiple ellipses are fine: First, when transcribing spoken dialogue that includes audible pauses in the conversation, and second, when relating stream-of-consciousness narrative that includes pauses for additional thought.

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