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When you need to pause while typing, you might use a three-dot ellipsis (…) to indicate a brief break. But what do you do when you need to pause for longer? Four dot ellipsis (….) is the answer.

What Is a Four-Dot Ellipsis?

A four-dot ellipsis (….) is a punctuation mark that indicates an omission or a pause in a text. It consists of four dots (….) placed consecutively, with no space in between.


Typically, it’s used to indicate the omission of one or more words in a quoted passage or to indicate a pause in the dialog. For example:

“I’m so excited about the party tonight,” she said, … “but I don’t know how to dance.”

In this sentence, the first three dots indicate that the speaker paused after saying “I’m so excited about the party tonight.” The fourth dot indicates that the speaker then continued speaking, finishing the sentence with “but I don’t know how to dance.”

The Grammar Rules Behind Four Dot Ellipsis

When using four-dot ellipsis, there are a few grammar rules to remember:

1. You should use ellipsis to indicate that you have omitted words from a quotation, or to indicate a pause in your writing.

2. You can only use three ellipsis if you are omitting part of a sentence. If you are omitting more than three words, you should use four-dot ellipsis.

3. You should always use a space before and after your four-dot ellipsis.

Different Types of Four Dot Ellipsis Usage

There are three main ways to use four-dot ellipsis:

1. To indicate a pause in dialog….

2. To indicate unfinished thoughts or sentences….

3. To indicate trails of thought….

How to Use Four Dot Ellipsis in Dialog

Using four-dot ellipsis correctly in a dialog is essential for properly conveying the flow of a conversation. Unlike three-dot ellipsis, which denote interruption or trailing off, four-dot ellipsis indicate a longer pause or an unfinished thought.

They’re used to signify either a break in the dialog that takes place over some time or when one speaker struggles to find the words to continue with the conversation. For example:

“What you did was wrong…. [long pause] I just… [pause] I just don’t know what to say.”

In this case, four dot ellipsis are used to properly convey the long pauses between each thought and give readers an indication of the emotion expressed by the character in these awkward silences—in this case, disbelief and distress.

Creative Ways to Use Four-Dot Ellipsis

Four dot ellipsis can also be used for creative effects in your writing. You can use them to create suspense, fill in information gaps, and even make humorous asides.

One way to use four-dot ellipsis is by leaving gaps in what someone is saying. For instance, someone could say “I don’t know… I guess I just don’t see the point”… or you could have them say “I don’t know… Well, I mean, I guess there isn’t one.” By leaving a gap before the last word of your sentence, you leave readers unsure of what the speaker is going to say next until they reach the end of that thought.

Another great way to use four-dot ellipsis is to create humorous asides. Let’s say you have a character who makes a joke but no one else gets it; instead of having everyone else just laugh awkwardly, you could write: “No one laughed…. [Character Name] thought it was hilarious.” This would draw attention to the character being amused by their joke and instantly add some comedy to the situation.

Tips for Crafting Engaging Pauses With Four Dot Ellipsis

Now that you understand how to use four-dot ellipsis, let’s look at some tips for crafting engaging pauses. First, when you’re introducing a new thought or concept, don’t use ellipsis. This makes it look like you’re trying to cover something up or sugar-coat things.

Second, keep your pauses short and sweet. If your ellipsis is more than three sentences long, you run the risk of boring the reader. Cut it off after two sentences and move on to the next thought.

Lastly, remember that ellipsis are an excellent way to slow down a conversation or add suspense to a story. You can use them to take an action-oriented paragraph and give it depth and depth of voice. Take advantage of this trick to make your writing come alive!

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Employing Four Dot Ellipsis

Now that you know the basics of using four-dot ellipsis, let’s discuss some common mistakes to avoid. First, make sure you don’t mix them with three-dot ellipsis. Four-dot ellipsis are used when emphasizing something grand, so using regular three-dot ellipsis can water down the effect.

Another tip is to use proper spacing – make sure there is a space between each set of dots. You also want to watch out for any extra punctuation marks as these can confuse the reader. For example, if you are putting a period at the end of your quote and then adding four-dot ellipsis, it’s best to omit one period to indicate that there is more to be said.

Finally, be mindful of how often you use four-dot ellipsis. If used excessively or in the wrong context, this type of punctuation can be overbearing and take away from the overall meaning. So keep things balanced and be sure to only employ four-dot ellipses when it truly enhances the sentiment being conveyed.


When using four-dot ellipsis, remember to use a space before and after each set of ellipsis. This will help to separate them from the text around them and make them easier to read.

Also, be sure to use four-dot ellipsis sparingly, as they can be confusing for readers if used too often. If you need to add additional information to your sentence, consider using a different punctuation mark or breaking up the text into shorter paragraphs.