Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Has anyone ever noticed how much I use ellipses? They are everywhere in my writing. I have recently decided that this is a bad thing so I have attempted to curtail my use of them. But I'm finding it really difficult, and I think I know why.

Basically, my love of the ellipsis is intrinsically connected to my personality. I don't know if anyone has ever done any Myers-Briggs or any other type of personality test, but I am a perceiver, as opposed to a judger. Which means I don't really like making decisions or committing to anything. Don't ask me to decide what I'm doing for my vacation this summer. Hell, don't even ask me to decide what I'm doing this weekend. Because I like to keep my options open. And, even if I've made plans, expect them to change with little or no notice. Which, admittedly, drives some people crazy. Because while I am fairly flexible, and can roll with the punches, I've noticed that some people get a little thrown off if something gets changed at the last moment.

Which brings me back to the punctuation. Because what else is an ellipsis but a refusal to commit to a sentence? It is an incomplete thought, the beginning of an idea... but ultimately it has refused to finish itself. It will not be locked into one static meaning but instead remains like a wound-up spring, just waiting to explode its meaning all over the page (or screen in this case). And the beauty of an ellipsis is that there are usually several, and sometimes many, potential meanings stuffed into those three little dots. And when I use the dots, I could mean any one of those things.

And that brings me to the problem with ellipses. Because while I think that being flexible is good, there are some things that you shouldn't be flexible about. When I use the ellipses, I don't have to choose the endings to my thoughts. I don't have to commit myself. I don't have to take a stand, or make my true intentions or feelings known. Because once you put that period at the end of your sentence, that's it. You've made your decision. No more wishy-washy fence-sitting. You've picked your statement, and now you have to stick with it. Defend it, or else admit you were wrong.

So, while it is somewhat scary for me, I figure that at the very least I should be able to commit to a sentence. No more ellipses (or at least none without a very good reason). We will not discuss my tendencies towards claustrophobia or the absolute feeling of panic I have gotten in the past when someone starts talking about marriage or buying a house.

One thing at a time. Period.


Ash said...

So, how do you feel about parentheses?

Violette said...

I like parentheses as well (and use them liberally). But I have not yet analyzed how they tie in with my personality. Any insight you could give me on this would be appreciated. :)

librarychik said...

LOL ... I can't help it... I always use them too ( really I do)