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Dramatic Ellipsis

The most threatening three dots you'll ever see.

Dot dot dot!
Stinkoman, Homestar Runner

In writing, particularly in a... pulp thriller or a comic strip... caption, a... portentous Dramatic Pause is represented by writing in... an ellipsis (...).

Sentences may also be... ended with an ellipsis for a tension... building or ominous effect... . This version can be used on the back of... books, a commercial summary of movies of... varying quality, etc. This version could also be used by people who intend to sound... mysterious in a piece of fiction (or intending... to sound like... William Shatner), or by someone who is giving an... important clue while... dying, and is unable to finish the sentence to its vital point... before meeting mister Grim... .

...At times, a sentence can also... begin with an ellipsis to represent... hesitation — or, as mentioned in the beginning, simply a... dramatic pause.

Note: Bear in mind that the use of... three dots in an ellipsis is... theoretically invariable: one does should not simply use however many.......................... dots one likes — but.. a lot of people will anyway... .

Another Note: An ellipsis does not mark the end of a sentence; rather one should follow it with a space and then the closing punctuation. Like so... ? Yes, like so... ! Or like so... . Four consecutive dots without a space would usually be considered incorrect typology.

Yet Another Note: If a trope example is about a pause in spoken dialogue, without any direct reference to an ellipsis, it likely should not go here but rather under Beat, Dramatic Pause, and / or Melodramatic Pause.

More Notes: In all technicality, an ellipsis has a space before each period, making the correct form of an ellipsis like this . . . But no one actually does that...
  • The ellipsis is a separate punctuation mark, or glyph, not just three dots in a row. Some software will automatically replace three dots typed by a user with the glyph, but not all. If the three dots come just before a line break there can be unintended consequences .
.. which can be avoided by the use of two non-breaking spaces as well.

Compare... Visible Silence, Beat.

... Examples ...:

Anime ... and ... Manga
  • Thanks largely to the Golgo 13 video game for the NES, Duke Togo is famous for doing this.
  • In Magi - Labyrinth of Magic, Scheherazade always speaks like this, which is strangely justified as she's a supremely powerful magician who's lived for at least 200 years.
  • Humorously lampshaded in the official Viz English translation of Rurouni Kenshin. During a side arc, Kenshin and gang are following young Yahiko around to see why he's acting weird. At one point, Kenshin does the dramatic elipsis of silence, and gets kicked in the head by Sanosuke, who yells Whaddya mean '...'!?"
  • At about midway through Samurai Deeper Kyo, the author started noting that Kyo, the main character, seemed to be losing popularity, then he realized the Kyo at that point in the storyline had been losing a lot of battles and rarely had anything to say about it aside from "...".
  • The use of dramatic ellipsis in the manga of Soul Eater had actually left Nenena of Livejournal (who makes sure to comment about the upcoming chapter and describe its general plot with the occasional tangent, such as her plan to capture the Memetic Molester of the series) with a mild case of Post-traumatic stress disorder to where she actually screamed about the abuse of ellipsis.
    • And it was taken to truly absurd heights in Ch 95, where 84 of them get used in one go.
  • At one point in YuYu Hakusho's Three Kings Arc, a group of characters have a conversation by writing things out so another character cannot hear them. At one point, one of them simply writes out "..." Another chastises him, saying not to write that out. see around 0:34
  • Also strange is the common manga method of ending a dramatic sentence in '... !', which, of course, seems to mean that they stopped talking, but it got really dramatic towards the end.
    • There are not one but two versions of this: the "... ?" which indicates confused silence, and the "... !" which indicates shocked silence. A "... ?!" would probably translate to dumbfounded silence ... .

...Comedy
  • Victor Borge with his Phonetic Punctuation routine ... that is, punctuation as exaggerated onomatopoeic sounds.

Comic... Books
  • The closest Snake Eyes gets to vocalization in the G.I. Joe comics is this trope.
  • It happened almost all the time in The Trigan Empire: "And then ... it happened!" or "And then he saw ... IT!" (It being a huge, hairy yeti thing if this happens on land, a Loch Ness-type monster if on the sea, or a huge, lime-green octopus-thing if under the sea. And not just once for any of those, either.)
  • Warrior #1 used these to ridiculous proportions, so much so that Spoony commented on it during his and Linkara's review of it, which eventually resulted in ...
  • Zero Patrol #1 uses this a lot as well, leading Linkara , during his review of it, to coin the phrase "Ultimate Warrior's Ailment" for comics that have too many ellipses (named for Warrior#1 and ... its ... ellipses).
  • Most notoriously appears when comic-book villains introduce themselves. "Fools! No one can stop ... Doctor Deathinatorwhatever!"
    • Double hyphens (em dashes) were also popular for this on Marvel titles in the '60s, which looks even stranger.

Fan... Fiction...
  • The Total Drama story, Legacy uses ellipses twice, in different ways:
    • In the first chapter, Heather’s voice trails off into a dramatic pause.
    • In the second chapter, Heather’s thoughts trail off when she gets too close to something she really doesn’t want to think about. The reader is given enough information to figure out just what that something is, and is unlikely to blame her.
  • Used with some regularity in The Legend of Total Drama Island, usually to indicate a pause in dialogue and always with the regulation three dots.
  • "It was... ... ... ... ... (CHARACTER)!" is used more than a few times in My Immortal. Used all the time before "sex" scenes as well. "And then..........we started frenching passively", or some variation thereof, appears about 50 times in the fic.
  • Overused though out My Little Unicorn, and a defining characteristic of Dakari-King Mykan's fanfics in general.
  • Starkits Prophecy also uses ellipses to distraction.

...Film...
  • History of the World Part I also has a spoken ellipsis:
    Mel Brooks, as the piss boy, as King Louis XVI "But, dot dot dot, you don't understand!"
  • Trainspotting's lead/narrator Ewan McGregor provides a rare film-based specimen:
    Narrator: "His post-junk libido, fueled by alcohol and amphetamines, taunted him remorselessly with his own unsatisfied desire, dot, dot, dot."

Literature...
  • Used at least once per page in Maria Trapp's A Family on Wheels, the sequel to The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.
  • In Craig Shaw Gardner's Cineverse Cycle, this is Big Bad Doctor Dread's overused shtick. To the point that, when one of the people sneaking through his fortress stops: "Did you hear someone talking?" "Worse than that. I heard someone... hesitating."
  • In Terry Pratchett's The Truth, Otto is explaining how things should be said in Überwald (complete with sound effects from thunder, wolves, etc.): "Yonder is ... zer castle".
    • Similarly, in Going Postal, the Smoking Gnu explain to Moist that you can't refer to... The Woodpecker (a method of exploiting the mechanical flaws in semaphore towers to make them break down, like a Steam Punk computer virus) as simply the Woodpecker. It needs the pause for effect.
      • And in Night Watch a character refers to having '... business interests in Uberwald' and Vimes refers to this statement as 'significant pause type of business interest', in the same vein as a character in The Truth being threatened with, in their summary of the others words which included an ellipsis, 'deep pause trouble'.
    • Another example: in Thief of Time Lu-Tze is informed by his unlikely rescuer that he is in ... the dairy. Of course, it's a very special dairy.
  • Not used outright in R.A. Salvatore's The Legacy, but Bruenor does think that General Dagna is pausing for dramatic effect when he doesn't immediately say what "trouble" they found in the new tunnel.
  • Used stylistically throughout Logan's Run, Logan's World and its successors.
  • Ghost-story author par excellence M. R. James has an amusing parenthetical comment about them in his essay "Stories I Have Tried to Write": "(Dots are believed by many writers of our day to be a good substitute for effective writing. They are certainly an easy one. Let us have a few more...)"
  • Twilight abuses both these and dashes-though mostly the dashes- in places they don't belong. Like.... here- and back there.
  • Barbara Cartland's breathless heroines frequently have difficulty saying more than four or five words before needing one of these little pauses. The heroes seem to be mostly immune to this affliction.

Live Action... TV
  • Lampshaded once in a Scrubs episode, in which J.D. is forced with shaving his hair for a cancer patient. He's quite reluctant to do this, so he stalls by telling the family, "You know, I've got a thing to get to now, but when I get back- * Pause for effect ... pause for effect ...* I'm shaving this thing."

Music ...
  • A staple in Megadeth's albums, like Peace Sells ... But Who Buying? They stopped using it for a while after Countdown To Extinction, but brought back it back in the The World Needs a Hero album with the song "Recipe for Hate...Warhorse".
    • More recently, there's "The Hardest Part of Letting Go...Sealed with a Kiss". And besides album names, there's a couple of not-title-tracks-song names, like "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due".

... Theatre ...
  • An in-text example for the ABBA musical Mamma Mia!!: when reading Sophie's mother's diary to try and find the identity of her real father, Sophie's friends wonder why all the entries involving going out with a guy end in "Dot-dot-dot." Sophie, who is by now familiar with the diary, concludes "Well, that's what people did in the olden days!"

Video... Games
  • ...Detective Badd of Ace Attorney Investigations... likes to use these... frequently.
    • In fact it's rare that he manages to complete a sentence without them.
    • It may be because he sucking on a lollipop while speaking. He speaks normally when he takes it out.
  • "........." is Alucard's catchphrase in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
  • Happens often in Iji. This is parodied by the Scrambler device, which usually renders ellipses as "Dot dot dot".
  • Used to build suspense before announcing the results of army battles in Loren: The Amazon Princess.
  • Nippon Ichi game Makai Kingdom has several characters using all versions of the trope. At one point, one character sees the ellipsis in another characters' speech bubble, and declares:
    Alexander, God of Destruction: Ellipses are for CHUMPS!
  • Mega Man X5 abused this somewhat, with lots of these during the major speeches. Other games in the series kept it to a minimum.
  • The player character in Phantasy Star Portable elevates this to an art form.
  • When battling Red in Pokémon Gold and Silver, his dialogue consists of nothing but this in a homage to his Heroic Mime status in the previous games.
  • Starcraft: Pops up sometimes in the subtitles, particularly in Stukov's death speech.
  • At the end of System Shock 2;
    SHODAN: "If I desired, I could improve you, transform you into something more... efficient."
  • Done multiple times in Umineko no Naku Koro ni. In fact, a lot of Visual Novels would fall under this trope, but Umineko's use of ellipses can be quite... egregious at times.
    Battler: And then...I...knew. (while a quick montage of images from previous episodes are shown)
  • A staple of just about any Japanese RPG game you can think of. Especially the Visible Silence variant.

Web... Comic

Web... Original
  • After a number of comics abusing the use of this particular punctuation mark,Linkara has finally diagnosed their overuse as a disease seen in comics similar to Youngblood's Disease. He dubbed it "Ultimate Warrior's Ailment" in his review of Zero Patrol.
  • that most literal application of all... Dot Dot Dot!
  • In its second blooper reel, Dragon Ball Z Abridged's Piccolo: "Dot-dot-dot. Ellipsis."
  • As the page quote shows, this was parodied in a Homestar Runner short, where Stinkoman actually pronounces it as "Dot Dot Dot".
  • One Protectors of the Plot Continuum story has a character in the medical department refer to a session of therapy involving videos designed to discourage lusting after canons as "... debriefings." PPC agents being what they are, the one going through these sessions describes them thereafter as "ellipsis debriefings."
  • The Time... Guys has this in the title. This comes from the fact that Dr. Chronos has a tendency to emphasize the word... TIME!
  • Used all the time on this very wiki when an editor wants to add sarcasm or a sense of drama.

Western... Animation
Also... there's one... more thing... I need... to address...

...

STOP! USING! ELLIPSES!
Diagonal BillingText TropesEmphasize EVERYTHING
Dead AirSilence TropesDumb Struck
Dramatic DeadpanDialogueDramatic Pause
Depending on the ArtistComic Book TropesExiled from Continuity
Do Well, But Not PerfectSelf-Demonstrating ArticleDrill Sergeant Nasty

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