Many very smart people have commented on the abuse of ellipses. See for example, this great post on PR Breakfast Club, Your Copy Sucks: In Offense of Ellipses by TJ Dietderich.
After my post from yesterday on single spaces, I thought it was time I addressed this topic as well. Especially since I have recently seen a cover letter written with ellipses. Yikes!
Now that you are over that initial shock, let me review what ellipses are supposed to be.
According to Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips on the topic, ellipses are most commonly used to show omitted words.
“It’s acceptable to tighten a long quotation by omitting unnecessary words, but it’s important that you don’t change the meaning,” she writes.
Ellipses are also used to show a pause in conversation. This is where the cover letter writer and many others use ellipses wrong.
Again from the same Grammar Girl post, The Chicago Manual of Style states, “Ellipsis points suggest faltering or fragmented speech accompanied by confusion, insecurity, distress, or uncertainty.” Not exactly points you want to convey to a potential employer.
In summary, please stop using ellipses. You are most likely using them incorrectly and are telling your reader you can’t complete a thought or full sentence.