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Friday, January 10, 2014

The Frustrating and Confusing Misuse of ...

I know that my grammar isn't perfect. I'm sure readers find grammatical errors in my writing quite frequently. I'm a frequent abuser of run-on sentences, hence my love of ellipses. However, I have noticed a growing trend in a major grammatical error that is, quite frankly, driving me crazy! The misuse/abuse of the ellipsis...

In formal writing, an ellipsis is used to signify an omission within a quote. Informally an ellipsis is meant to convey a pause, or a break in a train of thought. I won't go into too much detail, but if you want to know more I found a great article here.

My pet peeve is with the growing trend of using an ellipsis in place of an exclamation point, or period. Here are some examples I see on a regular basis.

"Happy Birthday..."

When I see this, my first reaction is, "Do they not want to wish that person a happy birthday?". Using an ellipsis in this example makes the birthday greeting seem as though it is written reluctantly rather than with joy. 

"It was great seeing you..."

Was it really? Because written like this make me think it really wasn't so great after all.

"Thanks for all your help today..."

Well, if you aren't grateful for my help, then next time I won't offer. I hope you are starting to see my point. An ellipsis is a pause... an emotional straight faced contemplation. There isn't any excitement, joy, or positive emotion when using an ellipsis. Now, change all three sentences by ending them with an exclamation point, and you will see what I mean.
"Happy Birthday!"
"It was great seeing you!"
"Thanks for all your help today!"

Using an exclamation point shows the intent of your feelings, and doesn't leave the reader confused, frustrated, or offended. Not that an exclamation point can't be used offensively, but at least you are well aware that you are choosing to use it in an offending manner. Until next time ... please use your punctuation responsibly! 
Charles Schulz always captured the melancholy emotions of Peanuts with ellipses.

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