Stop Using Ellipses

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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.

Bring vs. Take: A Grammar Lesson

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I wasn’t sure of the right answer on this one when a reader asked the other day.

After some research and a quick visit to Grammar Girl, I learned that it is a fairly simple rule, you bring something to where you are, you take something to where you are going.

Her example is, “I would ask Aardvark to bring Squiggly to my party next week, and then Aardvark would call Squiggly and ask, ‘May I take you to Grammar Girl’s party?’ I am asking Aardvark to bring Squiggly because I am at the destination—from my perspective, Aardvark is bringing someone here. Aardvark is offering to take Squiggly because he is transporting someone to a remote destination—from Aardvark’s perspective, he is taking someone there.”

Sounds easy, right? It is, but there are exceptions. For those you should go to Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips on the topic, here.