Q. Hello—My husband and I are arguing as to my use of periods at the end of a sentence when “trailing off.” He is unfamiliar with my use of two periods, which I believe is correct if my sentence actually ends there, rather than continuing. Is he (god forbid) right?? Example: He detailed all of the Nordic sports equipment he knew: skis, poles, ski boots, snow shoes.. Or must there be three periods?
A. I’m afraid there’s no softening this blow: you are wrong. (And we try not to use the w word.) Seriously, have you ever seen two periods in a published book or magazine? No. It’s always at least three. To learn more, please read CMOS 13.50–58 on ellipses.