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Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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February 27, 2010


Liz Tucker

The other thing that more and more work emails seemed to be littered with is exclamation marks. It might occasionally be acceptable to use one, but an email full of them,quickly loses any impact.


I use an ellipsis when sending an IM message to mean "I am not finished with my comment yet." It's a handy piece of punctuation for IM, because the person on the other end of the IM has no way of knowing if I am done with my comment simply because I stop typing. Without a piece of punctuation to pause the conversation, IM messages from the sender and the receiver often overlap, resulting in confusion.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Liz, I am seeing them too!!!


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Diane, thanks for your point about ellipses in instant messages. If your reader knows what your ellipses mean, you are communicating effectively.

Very clever!



I'm a little late reading this post but I am so glad you wrote it. We have someone in our office who uses an ellipsis at the end of every sentence instead of a period. His emails drive me insane!


I found myself at times using the ... and thought nothing of it. However, after I began receiving messages loaded with them, it did not take long for me to stop to using the...'s


Of note, if an ellipse is used, it should never be broken at the end of a line as you did in your example. Additionally, the ellipse should always stand alone " ... " vs "John..." when used in a sentence. Knowing when and how to use the ellipse may make one more accustomed to using it.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, JayC. Thanks for providing those rules. If you click on the link for "Using . . . Ellipses" in the post above, you will see that I covered those rules in the other post.

Thank you for the nudge to fix the incorrect line break. I just fixed it.



Thanks for the informative post Lynn, we have an employee in our office that starts ALL his emails with ellipses. I think he is undermining his intelligence and the professional nature of our company when he sends emails to our customers. Unfortunately he didn't respond well to being corrected proving he is stupid and not just ignorant.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

John, it's too bad that employee has such an odd habit. I would suggest that his supervisor insist on his using standard practices.


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