Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ellipses . . . A Cautionary Tale

In sending out an email message this morning about the bad weather and working remotely on this snowy day, I received some email responses and happened to glance at my original email text.  Weird - there was this strange character  - Š - automatically being inserted into some of my text.  When I signed off with, "Be safe out there..." it translated into "Be safe out thereŠ"

Since I'm working from home today and am only occasionally interrupted by my wonderful SO, SJS, I took the time to solve the problem on this one.

Windows readers - ignore!  This only happens when composing on my MacBook Air!  For such a sweet machine, this is embarrassing!

Here's the solution:  Go to System Preferences. Then Language and Text. Under text, turn off check next to "...".  This fixed it in conjunction with unchecking in Outlook - Preferences - Auto Correct - Auto Format unchecking "...": with ellipses.

But it got me thinking about ellipses.  (You know, those dot-dot-dots you often see, especially in email writing, because that tends to be more conversational and certainly less formal.)

And how much I love them . . . I think it all started in high school when I penned a feature column called Ramblings.

And so I started down this path of learning more about ellipses.  Most of us employ an ellipsis to show some sort of an omission, such as shortening a long quote (but never, ever change the quote's meaning).  Or we use it as a pause, to tell the reader we are thinking on something, or to indicate the passage of time, or if we want to give the reader the sense that something is left unsaid.
Most of us also overdo the ellipsis . . . and some find it annoying . . .

The other big takeaway today for me:  When you decide to use an ellipsis, realize you are substituting it for a word or phrase so use it as such and be sure to make it correctly!  Don't use two dots, or five dots - it's always an exact 3 ellipsis points, people!  There are actually special non-breaking symbols you can use if you want to get fancy but the period in everyday work is very acceptable - just make sure to have a space before and after the 3 periods, which also, by most accounts, calls for having spaces between the periods (please don't look at my use of the amazing ellipsis in any previous blog post of mine)! 

Hugs . . .


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