Q. I would love to have your take on an ellipsis problem. I have my children’s book MS back from the copyeditor, and I’m not sure she’s handled instances of trailing speech correctly. I would use three dots in each case. But when I check CMOS, all the examples of trailing speech with three dots consist of grammatically incomplete sentences, and mine are all grammatically complete, so maybe they do take four. Are these all correct with four dots, or should it be three? There are tales . . . What did he say the day we threw the cobs . . . I just thought I’d try . . .
A. Three dots only. Four dots always suggest that intervening material has been deleted. I think the copyeditor was overscrupulous. You definitely want only three in these cases.