5 reasons not to use an ellipsis (…) at the end of a sentence
Normally an ellipsis (3 periods) is used in quotes leaving out not so interesting or impertinent portions of quotations and citations. When used properly this makes sense and can also be used letting the reader absorb what has been written and taking the thought from there – literally filling in the blanks.
Perhaps it is the world of texting and Facebooking that created the need for brevity… Wherever that fits it probably has its space right there… In business writing and even business e-mails this practice is still pretty disruptive and sends the wrong message to the reader… It is at least as disrupting as my perturbed look photo in this post.
Annoying? It is at least as annoying as using multiple exclamation points or question marks behind just about every other sentence. There are 5 good reasons to avoid ellipsis’s:
- It is a credibility buster. Using this behind many or all of your sentences makes you look unprofessional and thus it reduces your credibility.
- There is no closure. Open ends are great material for novels and movies, but in business writing you want to be effective in engaging the reader by providing the red thread through your writing.
- Thought creep can back fire. Letting the mind wonder where it was not supposed to go leads to potentially getting more questions back about things you had not even considered, or you did not want to consider.
- You are too lazy. Do you really have nothing to add, or were you too lazy to type it? It leaves the reader to wonder about this too.
- They are distracting. Communication in any form or function must be congruent throughout. The moment you use and abuse periods like this you will lose the reader because she will find it distracting. Telling a story, or getting a point across is pointless – you are leaving the best part out.
It kills Powerpoint presentations too. If you work in the professional writing and speaking world and you spray periods like it comes out of a machine gun, here is your sign. It is against all conventions to abuse it. Do it and you are getting your speedpass right into oblivion.