Monday, January 24, 2005

Whenever I See Three Dots I Feel . . .

Lynne Truss in her book Eats, Shoots & Leaves - The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, cites an example from BBC2's Not Only . . . But Also to bring out the significance of placing three dots (ellipsis) at the end of a few words.

The example is from a Pete & Dud sketch. Pete is describing to Dud a situation from Neville Shute's A Town Like Alice. A pilot approaches a woman on a runway; a woman whose "busty substances" are outlined underneath her dress bay a shower of rain and the rushing wind from the propellers of a plane.

Dud: What happened after that, Pete?

Pete: Well, the bronzed pilot goes up to her and they walk away, and the chapter ends in three dots.

Dud: What do those three dots mean, Pete?

Pete: Well, in Shute's hands, three dots can mean anything.

Dud: How's your father, perhaps?

Pete: When Shute uses three dots it means, "Use your own imagination. Conjure the scene up for yourself." (pause) Whenever I see three dots I feel all funny.

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