While quoting how ellipsis should be used if few sentences are omitted in between. (ommissions are not clauses or words or phrases, but sentences). For example if there is a passage like: This is a book. That is a pen. That is my bag.

So, I am quoting now omitting the middlle sentence. The tex source code:

``This is a book.\ldots That is my bag''

Here is the tex output:


So in the above example if I use a period and \ldots, then the spacing between the period and ellipsis doesn't appear fine.

EDIT: 1 I'm following MLA style guide. And I am using mla-paper package.

  • 16
    Not a TeX answer, but I always found the style rather appealing to mark omissions in quotes with [...], i.e. an elipsis in square brackets. This distinguishes them from elipsis in the original text, and makes the omissions stand out even better.
    – DevSolar
    Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 8:31
  • For contiguity, I suggest using a period after your last example sentence "That is my bag" as well.
    – doncherry
    Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 11:46

6 Answers 6


From the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Seventh Edition, section 3.7.5. "Ellipsis":

For an ellipsis within a sentence, use three periods with a space before each and a space after the last ( . . . ).

As an example it shows:

Quotation Omitting a Sentence

In discussing the historical relation between politics and the press, William L. Rivers notes:

Presidential control reached its zenith under Andrew Jackson, the extent of whose attention to the press even before he became a candidate is suggested by the fact that he subscribed to twenty newspapers. . . . For a time, the United States Telegraph and the Washington Globe were almost equally favored as party organs, and there were fifty-seven journalists on the government payroll. (7)

So there are no [] or (). For my MLA papers, I have a macro for the "quotation-ellipsis":


The small space \, takes care of some weird spacing in \ldots, that seemed to look best to me. \xspace makes sure it works as bla bla \el. and as bla \el bla., i.e. a space is added only if there's no punctuation after the macro. The ellipsis package might be even better for this purpose, but I've never really looked into it since this solution worked for me.


This might just be personal preference on how you specify the spacing. Consequently, this is just one suggestion. Others may have, well, other suggestions.

You could force the space around the ellipsis using a command space :

``This is a book.\ldots That is my bag''
``This is a book. \ldots That is my bag''
``This is a book. \ldots\ That is my bag''
``This is a book.\ \ldots\ That is my bag''

Ellipsis with different spacing

See What does exactly do? for a discussion on using command space .

  • 2
    One could (or rather should) also load the ellipsis package: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/29840/consistent-typography/…
    – lockstep
    Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 9:54
  • omitted one possibility (using " because i don't know how to get an opening quote with markdown): "This is a book. \ldots\ This is my bag" Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 12:51
  • @barbarabeeton: If you're referring specifically to the style of quotation, I agree. However, the OP seemed to be more interested in ellipsis spacing rather than quoting.
    – Werner
    Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 18:02
  • @Werner -- no, not referring to the style of quotation, just that i wasn't able to reproduce exactly what was shown in the code segment lines. now that i look at it more closely, the second output line is not what is produced by the second code line; it lacks the space after the \ldots which should have been there if the command were actually followed by a backslash. Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 18:29
  • @barbarabeeton: Keen eye. I guess that mistake must have slipped in playing around with the different options. I've updated my answer to also show this difference. Thanks!
    – Werner
    Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 18:37

The answer probably depends on the publication's style guide.

Note, too, that the exact spacing may be altered by other factors (e.g. \frenchspacing).

The ellipsis package documentation (texdoc ellipsis) discusses the issues around this in some detail and the package provides options to satisfy the aesthetes and the style guides -- though not always both at the same time.

  • I have updated my question. I follow MLA style.
    – nixnotwin
    Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 11:30
  • er, \ldots gobbles the space following, so you need to insert \ after \ldots. Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 12:48

Given that you must follow MLA style, you don't have any creative freedom with regard to, say, the use of brackets around the ellipsis, let alone the ellipsis itself. The only thing you can/should do, from a typographic/aesthetic point of view, is to ensure that there's no line break right before the ellipsis. You'd do this by inserting a ~, "non-breaking space" or "tie", right before the ellipsis:

This is a book.~\ldots\ That is my bag.

That way, if LaTeX has to insert a line break next to the ellipsis, it'll happen after the ellipsis. (And force the space after the ellipsis using a command space \, see the other answers.)

  • @Stephen: Instead of editing someone else's answer in a way that changes its meaning, making a suggestion in a comment is recommended. I'm surprised though that your edit was accepted. See meta.tex.stackexchange.com/questions/340/….
    – doncherry
    Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 18:13
  • Stephen, @doncherry: I got an ex-post notification that my answer had been edited. Obviously, I'm OK with the substance of the edit, especially as I believe Stephen viewed his edit primarily as "fixing a typo" (which is was!) rather than changing the intended substance of my answer. I must confess I didn't know that it's possible to edit somebody else's answer in this fashion...
    – Mico
    Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 18:20
  • I figured it wouldn't be a problem, just wanted to point to the general guidelines. Fyi, anybody with >2k rep can edit any question and any answer in any fashion they please. Users with less rep can suggest an edit, which has to be approved by a >10k user or a mod.
    – doncherry
    Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 18:27
  • @doncherry (and Mico): I just wanted to add the missing \ (clearly a typo, but meaningful), but edits need at least 6 characters, thus I had to add the last sentence. And posting another answer with just adding the \ neither seemd the right thing to do. I don't know how I could have handled this otherwise, but suggestions for solving "less than 6 character-edits" are welcome.
    – Stephen
    Commented Oct 3, 2011 at 17:35
  • @Stephen: I think it's usually OK to post a comment to point out a typo (or other mistake, naturally). I'd certainly be more than willing to fix all such mistakes. :-)
    – Mico
    Commented Oct 3, 2011 at 17:46

It seems that if you just put the \ldots before the period, things work pretty good:

``This is a book\ldots. That is my bag''

enter image description here

  • 7
    changes the meaning. Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 18:31
  • @barbarabeeton: Sorry don't understand. Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 18:34
  • 1
    Your solution (code) implies that something is left out before the sentence-ending period, and not that there is an entire sentence left out in between the other two sentences. Even though it might not be visible in the output, you might get confused in the code. This clashes with the idea of semantically readable LaTeX code.
    – doncherry
    Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 18:36
  • @doncherry: Thanks for the clarrification. I was focused on the output, but you are right that it does change the meaning in the actual TeX code. Commented Oct 2, 2011 at 18:40

You can also use the lips package.

The \lips command generates text ellipses that are closer to what The Chicago Manual of Style suggests than what \dots produces.

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