Ellipsis…or Em Dash-?

It seems I never think full, flowing thoughts anymore. My husband would add that I don’t speak in whole, fluid sentences, either!

This shows up in my writing, as my thoughts pour out in chunks, rather than a steady stream.  And, I think it is for this very reason, I have adopted using the ellipsis and the em dash.

My purpose, here, is to acquaint you with their various uses—though not in any way try to convince you to use them in your own writing—as some find them confusing and irritating—or so I am told.

The ellipsis, or …, indicates an unfinished thought, a pause, awkward silence, an echoing voice, or even a leading statement. (The aposiopesis is the use of an ellipsis to indicate the trailing off of a voice or noise into silence. For example, “But, I thought she’d…”)

The em dash is often used in place of a colon or parenthesis, showing an abrupt change in thought, to set apart definitions, show interruptions— by another speaker or self-interruption—contemplation or emotional trailing off, lengthy pauses, bleeps (as in censorship), substitutions, or where a series of commas have already been used in a given sentence.  (Much like the one I just wrote!)

So, if you tend to speak, think, or write in frequent spurts and stops, consider how much easier and quicker the writing process might be if you consider using the both the ellipsis and em dash.

I’m just saying…


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