A free, comprehensive, peer-reviewed, award-winning Open Text for students and faculty in college-level courses that require writing and research.

Joe Moxley, Founder, WritingCommons.org

Joe Moxley


Dear Colleagues and Students,

At Writing Commons, we are happy with the overall success of our project. Since 2011, when we launched at WritingCommons.org, we have hosted 6,315,882 users who have reviewed over 11 million pages. We are thrilled that students and faculty find our site to be helpful. Our ongoing mission is to be the best writing textbook possible. We also happen to be free. While we cannot perhaps claim yet that we are the best possible textbook for technical writing or creative writing courses, we are working on that.

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What is an ellipsis?

An ellipsis is a punctuation mark that consists of three dots with a space before, after, and between them. Writers use this mark to represent a word, phrase, sentence (or more) that is omitted from a direct quotation.

How should ellipses be used?

When words are omitted from within two nearby sentences, insert the ellipsis in place of the omitted words.

  • Quotation with an ellipsis taking the place of omitted words within nearby sentences:
    • “With her eyes on her phone . . . [Harden] lost control of the vehicle, and it slammed into a parked car and then a rock wall” (Weir 1). [1]

Note: Spaces are placed between the dots, as well as before and after them.

When words are omitted following a complete sentence, include the sentence’s end punctuation followed by the ellipsis.

  • Quotation with an ellipsis taking the place of omitted words after a complete sentence:
    • “Driving, texting, and talking on the phone are all cognitively complex tasks; they require sophisticated brain functions such as memory, attention, problem solving, and decision making. . . . [but] the brain can’t perform two cognitively complex tasks at the same time” (Weir 2).

Note: The period appears at the end of the sentence and is followed by the ellipsis and another space.

Avoid misuse of ellipses

  • Do not use ellipses at the beginning or end of a quotation.
  • Do not use ellipses to alter the author’s originally intended meaning.

For additional information on ellipses:

[1] Weir, Kirsten. “Driven to Distraction.” Current Science. Weekly Reader Corporation, 11 Mar. 2011. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.

Cassandra Branham, Editor-in-Chief WritingCommons.org

Cassandra Branham


Dear Colleagues and Students,

Welcome to Writing Commons, an open-education resource for instructors and students of writing across the disciplines. Our mission is to provide a high-quality, cost free resource to support students in the development of writing, research, and critical thinking practices.

This summer, we have been working on a site redesign in an effort to increase the usability of our site for both instructors and students. Our most significant change has been the inclusion of additional categories and subcategories to create a more intuitive hierarchy within the site.

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