# Ellipses and Brackets

### NEVER BEGIN A SENTENCE WITH A LOWER-CASE LETTER.

• Never do:  “. . . slavery in America had lingering effects.”
• Never do:  “. . . Slavery in America had lingering effects.”
• Do:  “[S]lavery in America had lingering effects.” (formal method)
• Do:  “Slavery in America had lingering effects.”  (informal method)

### BE CAREFUL W/CAPITALIZATION WHEN USING THE START OF A SENTENCE IN A QUOTE.

Assuming the original quote was: “The courts had no choice but to void the statute.”

• Never do:  The judges knew that “The courts had no choice but to void the statute.”
• Do:  The judges knew that “the courts had no choice but to void the statute.”
• Do:  The judges acknowledged, “The courts had no choice but to void the statute.”

A simple rule:
VERB + “That” = NO COMMA + LOWER CASE
VERB ONLY = COMMA + CAPITAL
e.g., The president warned that “war is inevitable.”
e.g., The president warned, “War is inevitable.”
The not-so-simple rule for the same situation? If the sentence and quotation are syntactically dependent = no comma. If the sentence and quotation are not syntactically dependent = comma and capital.

### ELLIPSES DOTS ARE USED TO OMIT UNNEEDED PUNCTUATION.

• Never do:  “There is never enough time, . . . , to enjoy life.”
• Do:  “There is never enough time . . . to enjoy life.”

### ELLIPSES DOTS ARE NOT USED WITH OBVIOUSLY INCOMPLETE QUOTATION SENTENC

• Never do: They struggled “. . . diligently and fairly successfully. . . .”
• Do:  They struggled “diligently and fairly successfully.”

### WHEN AN ELLIPSIS ENDS A SENTENCE, USE BOTH ELLIPSES DOTS AND A PERIOD.

ALL FOUR DOTS MUST GO INSIDE THE QUOTATION MARKS.

• Do:  Historians believe that “northerners faced an intriguing paradox . . . .”

### BRACKETS (NOT PARENTHESES) ARE USED TO MAKE CHANGES OR ADDITIONS TO QUOTATIONS

• Do: “The king believe[d] in absolute power.”
• Do: “The protesters [were] determined.”
• Do: “The experience of [American] slavery had deep effects.”
• Do: She warned that, “not knowing the solution[,] they were likely to take a misstep.”
• Do: “[He] wanted absolute power.”
• Do: “The general [Anderson] took control of the battle.”
• Do: “The war [of 1812] was a period of trauma and triumph.

### USE [SIC] TO INDICATE THAT A QUOTATION HAS AN ERROR IN IT.

• Do:  “Senator Edmund [sic] Kennedy was the heart of the opposition.”
• Do:  He asserted that “the rule is outragious [sic].”
• Do:  She argues that “the Mexican war of 1847 [sic] was immoral.”

### BASIC TYPING RULES:

(1) SPACE BETWEEN ELLIPSIS DOTS.

Never do:  She announced that “the war … was over.”

Do:  She announced that “the war . . . was over.”

(2) DO NOT SPLIT ELLIPSIS DOTS. ALL MUST BE ON THE SAME LINE.