I was going through a punctuation guide and it states that
"In Courier the ellipsis is made of five spaces and three periods: There are blank spaces between the periods . . . see? So it looks like this . . . and not like...this."
I don't think I've ever seen this rule before. The copyright on the book is 2010, but I'm not sure how modern that tidbit is. The rest of the guide makes sense, but why the extra spaces between the periods? Around them, sure, in them?
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I'm not sure exactly but, when I use Microsoft Word, I just type the three periods and it changes it to the 'appropriate' format--three periods and five spaces.
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There are submission guidelines that I have read which ask that the MS Word ellipsis be removed from manuscripts since it is a character that causes difficulty in typesetting. I think that might be the biggest rule.
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Typewriter format using a monspaced typeface for elllpsis points is three points, no spaces between. Courier New is a monospaced typeface.
Manuscript format was the same until wordprocessors allowed proportional typefaces, circa 1966. Times New Roman is a proportional typeface. Five spaces and three points is the type set for proportional typeface ellipsis points, though now also monospaced typefaces for manuscript format. Only one format I know of still uses a three points, no spaces ellipsis points: stenograph transcripts.
Publication format also is five spaces and three points. Which is why that punctuation guide advises three points, five spaces for an ellipsis points use, so that a manuscript is as ready for publication preparation as a writer can make it.
Formal paper cites also have a four-point ellipsis points for cites that include internal periods and omitted content. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. . . . It was the winter of our discontent."
Manuscripts prepared for digital submission for publication as a best practice in the Digital age use individual points and spaces, not the formatting glyph with which wordprocessor softwares autoreplace the periods. Typesetters and digital layout editors curse those, and em dashes and en dashes. They can be searched and replaced, though tediously one at a time so that typesetting errors are avoided.
Prescriptively, manuscripts submitted for print or online publication use three hyphens, no spaces for em dash; two hyphens, no spaces for en dash, and straight quote marks and apostrophes, not curly quote marks or apostrophes. Prose may use only two hyphens for an em dash, when no en dash formatting joins ranges, like page or date ranges in text or end or footnotes or bibliography.
Use of formatting glyphs that are software autoreplaced and not on a standard 110 character keyboard, like the above, cause publication software and type design issues.
I've consumed hours searching and replacing squirrelly glyphs like the above during manuscript preparation for publication. The wordprocessor ellipsis points glyph is especially troublesome, and a poor production value appearance if left an as-is autoreplaced glyph. The glyph squeezes points closer than even unspaced points used for typewriter format.
An ellipsis is a rhetorical figure. Ellipsis points is the punctuation mark in typesetter and editor lexicon. An ellipsis is "an omission of one or more words that are obviously understood but that must [otherwise] be supplied to make a construction grammatically complete" (Webster's 11th). Although dictionaries supply a punctuation-mark ellipsis definition, that is a consequence of informal usage and problematic from confusion between the rhetorical figure and the punctuation mark.
Edited to add: Why spaces between the points? Legibility and luxurious ample white space proportioning for publication format. A principle of publication format is ample, proportioned white space in each layout and design item: page dimensions, margin dimensions, paragraph format and indents, line space, line height, glyph proportions and kerning, etc., for reading ease and high production values; so that the layout appears elegant, not forced and unnaturally cramped, "cheap" cost-cutting content crammed into a publication as if sardines packed in a can.
Samuel Delany explained the difference this way:
Ellipses is for trailing off.
M-dash is for interruption.
I'd agree that many writers abuse ... to mean interruption. It's far more rare to see the reverse.
As to spaces in the ellipses, sounds like someone hated the typical wordproccesor's autochange to the cramped glyph (which is often so compressed as to be a blur) as much as I do. Spaces between the dots would prevent that. I always turn the damn thing off.
I do use a space on either side ... when it's in the middle of a sentence, but not if it's at the end...
...because that prevents the stupid that wordprocessors often do where because there is no space there's no word break, you get horribly mangled line lengths as the...whole...thing is treated as one word. Using spaces fore and aft (for symmetry) prevents this nonsense.
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