The importance of using the ellipsis character

The semantics of using the ellipsis character versus a full stop

I still see many examples on the web of people using three full stops instead of ‘…’.

This is a problem because one of these is a character that indicates text or a section of text is missing from a greater body of text and one of these is a series of full stops.

A full stop is generally used to show that a sentence has ended, one is always enough, it makes no sense to end the sentence three times.

There is a weak argument that they look the same so there is no need to worry, O and 0 under some lights look the same, it doesn’t mean that they have anything to do with each other.

Why I am mentioning this in a tech blog?

Because a lot of the time we need to limit the amount of text that gets returned from a function for layout or practical reasons and when we chop off text it is best practice to somehow inform the user of this.

One way of achieving this is to end the sentence and put something like ‘Read More’ another way is to add the trailing dots (ellipsis).

There are some accessibility implications that come along with using three full stops as opposed to the correct character, screen readers can be set to read out the character (in my experience calling it a ‘period’) obviously this isn’t right.

The other implication is it shows a lazy handle of the language, you wouldn’t replace the full stop for a comma or an open bracket for a semi-colon, so why would you replace the ellipsis with three full stops?

How do I use the ellipsis character?

In HTML you can write … or …


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