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Using the Ellipsis

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In order to use quotes effectively, you will find it necessary to blend some borrowed text into your own essay. When doing this, it is often necessary to omit a few words from a long passage to make your own text sensible.

According to MLA guidelines, you must indicate that you have omitted words in a quote with three spaced periods called an ellipsis.

When words are omitted from the middle of a sentence, you place a space before each period and after the last period:

"Your text . . . will look like this."

If the omitted words coincide with the end of your sentence, you put a period at the end of the sentence as normal, and follow with the ellipsis. You don't put a space between the last period and the quotation mark:

"Your test will look like this. . . ."

And if you are inserting a citation you would space before each period of the ellipsis and place your final period after the citation:

"The ellipsis should follow this example . . ." (122-175).

If you skip from the middle of one sentence to the beginning of another sentence, you should capitalize the first letter of the second sentence as it is in the original text.

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