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Dramatic Ellipsis

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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. And One More Note: If it's more than three dots, it's not an ellipsis; it's a dot-leader.

Compare... Visible Silence, Beat.

... Examples ...:

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    Anime... &... 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
  • In the Ouran High School Host Club episode "Beware the Physical Exam", Tamaki tries to take a physical exam in place of Haruhi simply by putting on a brown wig. When Haruhi sees what he's doing, and the other students immediately recognizing him ("Is he cosplaying as Haruhi?"), the camera cuts to her lying on the ground with a large speech bubble above, which fills in with an ellipsis, dot by dot, accompanied by three woodblock strikes.
  • The Medicine Seller in Mononoke always talks in this manner.

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

    Comic... Books 
  • Batman Odyssey sometimes features as many as twenty on a single page.
  • 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).

    Fan... Works... 
  • 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 throughout My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic and a defining characteristic of Dakari-King Mykan's fanfics in general.
  • StarKitsProphcy also uses ellipses to distraction.
  • Detsniy Off Skiword shows a love for doing this throughout Kid Icarus Uprising 2 and Profesor Layton Vs Jack The Raper. Anytime a Ass Pull happens, or a character appears, he has to do at least four lines with just three dots. At least once, he has done this, only to then declare, "Just kidding!" and then perform even more ellipsis before the actual reveal.
  • In its second blooper reel, Dragon Ball Z Abridged's Piccolo: "Dot-dot-dot. Ellipsis."
  • Used excessively in any interaction between any combination of characters in Advice and Trust. Even when they converse via chat messages.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses: Fifth Path is particularly fond of these, usually to represent hesitance in someone's speech. The narration will also occasionally mention this for comedic effect:
    There was a long silence. You could almost see the ellipses above them.

    Films... Live-Action... 
  • 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."
  • Knuckles dramatically reads off a series of casual texts in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022), saying "Dot, dot, dot" aloud each time the "text incoming" ellipses appear on the screen.

  • 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 ‹berwald (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 Steampunk computer virus) as simply the Woodpecker. It needs the pause for effect.
    • And in Night Watch Discworld 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.
    • Describing Lady Margalotta in Unseen Academicals, the Lemony Narrator says "she had some sort of ... relationship with Vetinari. Everyone knew it, and that was all everyone knew. A dot dot dot relationship. One of those. And nobody had been able to join up the dots."
  • 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...)"
  • The Twilight Saga abuses both these and dashes-though mostly the dashes- in places they don't belong. Like.... here- and back there.
  • In Up the Down Staircase, Alice Blake peppers her love letter to her crush, teacher Paul Barringer, with a series of these. He's enough of an ass to write her a Grammar Correction Gag response in which he points out that (among other errors) she's using them incorrectly.
  • 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.
  • The Alan Dean Foster novelisation of Alien has these at the end of various scenes, presumably to invoke a sense of suspense. As they don't appear in his subsequent novelisations of the Alien franchise, it tends to stand out.

    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."

  • 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.note 
  • "........." is Alucard's catchphrase in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
  • Happens in Fairune 2, both when the Fairies are reading the Ancient Codex to signify focus, and when Layla uploads memories from the Storage Devices to her true body, moments before shutting down her holographic one.
  • Nacht, the second protagonist in Final Fantasy Dimensions, has a tendency to trail off with an ellipsis at the end of his sentences as part of his aloof, stoic demeanor.
  • 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 Pokťmon 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.
  • Super Paper Mario: Tippi uses these extremely frequently, with nearly every sentence of hers ending with one at first (even moreso in the Japanese version). She gradually starts using less of them over time, which coincides with her Character Development.
  • 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: When They Cry. 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.
  • The Just Dance video games use these whenever an objectionable word is censored in a song (which is often since the games are rated E10+. Even milder words like "hell", "damn" and "drunk" are almost-always censored). On every map, the song's lyrics are displayed in the lower left-hand corner. When a line with a censored word appears, the word is replaced with "..." (such as "We don't give a ...") rather than more common forms of text censorship such as asterisks.
    • In the song "Bang Bang" by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, the entire line "Back-back seat of my car" is censored and displayed as "... ... ... ... ... ..."
  • In Azur Lane Shinano's dialogue lines is littered with this, even when speaking to her fellow Sakura Empire ships. Ties with the fact that she's quite the Dream-weavingSleepyhead.

    Web... Animation 

    Web... Comics 

    Web... Original 
  • 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."
  • When a creepypasta author's over-reliance on ellipsis is apparent, the guys at Bad Creepypasta pokes fun at it by speaking out the ellipses. Some fanpastas read on BAD CREEPYPASTA also pokes fun at this.
  • TV Tropes: Used all the time when an editor wants to add sarcasm or a sense of drama.

    Web... Videos 
  • 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.
  • The Time... Guys has this in the title. This comes from the fact that Dr. Chronos has a tendency to emphasize the word... TIME!

    Western... Animation 

    Real... Life 
  • When using iMessage or Facebook Messenger, the bubbles indicating that the other user is typing can be unnerving when you are awaiting an important response.