Frequently Asked Question: …

Dear editor,

I would like to know your opinions on the ellipsis in dialogue.

Would you use:
“Well, gee…I don’t know?”
“Well, gee… I don’t know?”
“Well, gee … I don’t know?”
“Well, gee . . . I don’t know?”

Or some other variation?

I tried to find what CMS had to say about it and didn’t find anything authoritative.

Thanks for your question about the proper spacing of ellipses. In my view, only the second example (“gee… I don’t know”) would likely be seen as incorrect, because there should be the same amount of space on both sides. Otherwise it’s arguably only a matter of preference. The fourth example is my favorite and probably the one I’d advise. It’s the one that seems to appear in print most often.

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