D.3(a): The Number of Periods in an Ellipsis
All ellipses should contain three or four periods. See Bluebook Rule 5.3(a)–(b). In determining whether the ellipsis should contain three or four periods, ask whether the omitted words contain a period.
Original Source: The staffers on the Temple Law Review are pleasant. They work hard, get along with one another, and are prompt with their assignments.
Four Periods: If a quotation reads as two sentences, and some of the original text is being omitted, then use four periods (an ellipsis and a period):
- Though all of the journals at Temple are close friends, the “staffers on the Temple Law Review are pleasant . . . . They . . . get along with one another.”
Three Periods: If the omitted words do not contain a period, or if they do contain a period but the new sentence reads as a single sentence, then use three periods (just an ellipsis).
- One editor noted that the staffers “are pleasant . . . and are prompt with their assignments.”
D.3(b): Ellipses at the End of Quotes
An ellipsis should be added to the end of a quote only when:
- The quote is serving as a full sentence within the article, and
- The author has omitted words from the end of the original sentence.
- Note: An ellipsis at the end of a quote will always contain four periods.
- An ellipsis is never necessary at the end of a quote if the quoted material is merely serving as a clause or phrase within a larger sentence.
D.3(c): Spacing the Letters Surrounding an Ellipsis
- If the last letter prior to the ellipsis comes from the end of the original sentence, there should be NO space between the letter and ellipsis (e.g. the end. . . .)
- If, on the other hand, the last letter comes from the middle of the original sentence, there IS a space between letter and ellipsis. (e.g. the middle . . .)