Get rid of story-summary ellipses, the Web site for the Opelika-Auburn News in Alabama, uses a confusing style for article summaries on its front page. Each summary ends with an ellipsis (...):

A partial screenshot of, which reads 'All across the area, people will be gathering to celebrate the birthday and life of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr...'

Ellipses are supposed to be used to indicate omission, usually in direct quotes. On the Web, people have gotten used to search engines’ use of ellipses to highlight search keywords within sentence fragments. Automated discussion forums even cut text off in mid-word with ellipses. takes the time to write good story summaries that are complete sentences, but the ellipses at the end of them make the sentences look incomplete. Perhaps the site wants to remind readers that there’s a full story available without using ugly “more of this story”-style links, but it would be better to just use one period rather than three.

This criticism of the Opelika-Auburn News for putting ellipses after complete sentences is not meant at all to excuse the sloppy unprofessional front pages like those of the Edmond (Okla.) Sun and many others whose summaries are incomplete sentences generated by software rather than human beings. Even the fully-automated Google News doesn’t cut things off in mid-word. Maybe the main reason the Opelika-Auburn News should eliminate its superfluous ellipses is to avoid confusion with sites like the Edmond Sun.

POST A COMMENT on “Get rid of story-summary ellipses”

Your name: (optional)

Your site: (optional)

Comment: (only <a>, <em> and <strong> allowed)

This page last modified on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 at 2:30 pm