"Home, home, sweet, sweet home ...."

「文部省検定済教科書」の英語テキストを信頼して、パンクチュエーションで迷ったときに参照することがあります。「Harp of Burma」という「レッスン」が、平成2年発行の高校生用英語テキスト(The Crown English Series)にありました。タイトルに示した例では、引用文の最後が省略で終わっており、ピリオドが4個使われています。最後の1個は文の最後を意味するピリオドだと私は解釈しています。皆さんはどう考えますか。

The title of this thread is in English, but …
I am talking about the four periods used at the end of the sentence in parentheses.

The expression “in parentheses” is wrong, but I don’t know how to describe the marks.

I think they are called ellipsis, but there are generally only three fullstops to indicate that the sentence has not been completed… (although I go overboard at times).

Oh, boy. Where do I begin?

Ellipsis points are three spaced periods (. . .) that generally indicate omission. There are three methods of using ellipsis points: the three-dot method, the three-or-four-dot method, and the rigorous method.

  1. The Three-Dot Method

This method uses three ellipsis points all the time. The points may be preceded or followed by other punctuation marks, depending on the context. If the first word after ellipsis points begins a grammatically complete sentence, it should be capitalized, even if the original text was lowercased.

  1. The Three-Or-Four-Dot Method

Very briefly, this method uses three dots when the omission is in the middle of a sentence and four dots when one or more complete sentences are omitted. Three dots are spaced like this . . . (Much like in Method #1). Four dots leave out the space before the first dot (which is a true period). . . . Like this.

Three dots are uses always when a sentence is left incomplete deliberately. You know . . .

  1. The Rigorous Method

This is a refinement of Method #2. It preserves the capitalization of the original, indicating a change by using brackets. To quote Sanne, “[T]there are . . . three [periods] to indicate that the sentence has not been completed.”

Another refinement calls for using the space before the first dot in the series of four dots if the last part of the sentence is omitted. For example, Sanne said earlier, “I think they are called ellipsis . . . .” If the sentence before the omitted part is complete or you quote the last part of it, then no space before the first dot is used.

So, this is—roughly—how you use ellipsis points in English.

If this is roughly . . . . Thank you for yet another entertaining instruction. I shall go for rigour and refinement whenever an ellipsis is called for next.

Heh. Well, my description is rough in the sense that it omits (wink wink, nudge nudge) some special cases of how to deal with other punctuation marks, poetry, omissions within omissions in quoted material, etc. There are also refinement practices that use ellipsis points in the beginning of a quotation.

Another interesting point: interrupted speech is usually represented with an em dash.

“What happened?” Molly said.
“I just told you. Jack picked me up and we—“
“No, no. I mean what happened after that.”

In contrast with deliberately incomplete sentences (as mentioned earlier).

“And you know the rest, I suppose.” She gave me a meaningful look.
“Yes, I do . . .” I said.

Two em dashes can be used in transcriptions to indicate the transcriber’s guess or missing material.

“And he told [Malcolm and — —] that [— —]ed beyond [recognition?]."

Yes, the em dash, so useful to have for Russian, too, I believe — yet so difficult to produce on the keyboard. I just had to cut and paste yours.

Another, unrelated, point: we both didn’t mention that it is more usual these days to say "Home, sweet home . . . . ". On the other hand, the fragment may be out of something YutakaM has just read and of which I am completely in the dark.

I assumed the same thing about “home, sweet home,” so I let it fly.

Re the em dash. I’ve heard that it’s difficult to type on Windows. On Mac OS, it’s no more difficult than, say, a capital letter. You just press Option-Shift-Hyphen and it produces the em dash. Option-Hyphen produced the en dash (a shorter dash, used for ranges and compound adjectives, i.e pp. 23–41, the pre–World War period).

In the Windows version of Microsoft Word, I believe it’s possible to render the em dash by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Hyphen on the numeric keypad. Generally, in Windows, you can hold down the Alt key, type 0150 or 0151 on the num pad, and then release the Alt key.

Thank you for the tip with Alt 0150: I have successfully produced an –.

By the way, apologies to you, Yutaka, for highjacking the thread like this, you do start some interesting topics …

Looks like 0150 is an the dash. Try 0151. If it’s longer, then it’s definitely the em dash.

If I remember right, MS Word replaces two dashes in a row for an em dash by default. If not, you can insert it into the list of auto-replacement. Very convenient.

Home, Sweet Home(埴生の宿)

Astamooreさんが「ellipsis points」の使い方の概略をていねいに説明してくれたのですが、なかなか難しいですね。


Ouch. My bad. I apologize. I didn’t look at the forum title.

(blushes and runs)


あれ! 日本語をいつ勉強したのですか。


And thank you SanneT for your explanation.
I usually miss the chance to reply to all the posts written in English…(.?)