If punctuation – the right placing of a question mark and a comma or the precise distinction between a comma and a semicolon – helps deliver meaning, the mark known as ellipsis is the rebellious outlier in this system of syntax and sense. Unlike a regular punctuation mark, the ellipsis has the power to gesture towards something absent or unfinished. It is the conventional marker for the rhetorical figures of anacoluthon (a grammatically faulty fusion or change of construction in a sentence, begun in one way and continued or ended in another) and aposiopesis (a sentence or clause broken off with the sense incomplete). In classical scholarship, both devices are permitted to voiced words, in drama or direct speech, where the speaker is unable or unwilling...

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview
Article PDF first page preview
You do not currently have access to this article.