all three are now . . . extinct."

passengerman

Senior Member
chinese
Hi all;

Why the author used "..." here ?

"[T]he single most momentous change in twentieth-century punctuation [was] the disappearance of the great
dash-hybrids. All three of them—the
commash ,—, the semi-colash ;—, and the colash :— (so I name them, because naming makes analysis possible)—are of profound importance to Victorian prose, and all three are now . . . extinct."

(Nicholson Baker, "The History of Punctuation." The Size of Thoughts: Essays and Other Lumber. Random House, 1996)

Thanks in advance
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi passengerman

    It seems that the original version had some additional text where the "..." is in your quote - here's the version given in the World Wide Words blog (my highlighting):
    Dr. Parkes ends his brief discussion of “The Mimetic Ambitions of the Novelist and the Exploitation of the Pragmatics of the Written Medium” with Virginia Woolf, so he (pardonably) avoids treating the single most momentous change in twentieth-century punctuation, namely the disappearance of the great dash-hybrids. All three of them — the commash ,—, the semi-commash ;—, and the colash :— (so I name them, because naming makes analysis possible) — are of profound importance to Victorian prose, and all three are now (except for certain revivalist zoo specimens to be mentioned later) extinct.
    So the sequence of three dots is an ellipsis.
     
    Last edited:

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    This is unusual. The author is very particular about his capital [T] and the verb [was] - he puts them both in square brackets because they weren't there in the original, and square brackets is the conventional sign for that. However, he doesn't put square brackets around his ellipsis dots. He should have written all three are now [...] extinct. That's why JamesM in #2 mistook them for dramatic suspense dots.
     
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