We've seen ellipses formatted a variety of ways in ebooks. But how do you format ellipses correctly and in a way that is more visually appealing to readers?
Some authors use the ellipses character, sometimes with spaces to either side and sometimes without spaces. Other authors use three periods in a row. Others still use three periods with spacing. So, which is best?
What The Chicago Manual of Style Says
The Chicago Manual of Style, which is the style book most used by publishers in the US for fiction, says, "An ellipsis consists of three spaced periods, with a space before and after."
In other words, this is correct:
"I was wondering . . . do you like pie?"
This spacing makes the ellipses not look squished; it is more readable and attractive than an ellipses character. It also looks more professional, and it is correct!
**Please note that the AP style guide says to format ellipses with the ellipses character and spaces to either side. The AP style guide is used in magazines, broadcasting, and marketing and should not be used in a novel.
How to Format Ellipses
Make sure to put nonbreaking spaces between the periods, so your ellipses won't break across a line. (Note that this should also be done when formatting print books.)
There are several ways to do this. Before importing your manuscript from Word into your ebook creation program, you can simply search for ellipses (the ellipses character or the three periods in a row) and replace them with " .^s.^s. " (without the quotation marks). The ^s stands for a nonbreaking space in Word.
Another way is to import your document into your ebook creation program and insert the nonbreaking spaces there. You'll have to look up how to do that in your particular program, because the process will be slightly different for each one.
Not Doing It Right? Don't Panic
But what if you didn't format your ellipses this way? Don't panic! As long as you have been consistent throughout the entire book, formatting the ellipses in exactly the same way every time, readers probably won't complain (even if it's not as friendly on the eyes). And you can always do a simple search and replace on older releases, and then use correct format in future books.
We hope this post has explained well how to format ellipses and has convinced you to used spaced periods! Let us know in the comments below if you have any additional questions or thoughts. If you'd like to learn more about Book Cave author promotions, please enter your email below and click the "Learn More" button.
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