Subscribe to The Chicago Manual of Style Online
Quotations and Dialogue
Q. I’ve read the section on ellipses (CMOS 13.50–58), but I want to verify that what you’re recommending is [space dot space dot space dot space] for a regular ellipsis. Also, I am puzzled by the rationale of putting a period at the end of an incomplete sentence and then an ellipsis before continuing the quotation. As I see it, this doesn’t differentiate between a complete sentence followed by missing text and an incomplete sentence followed by missing text.
A. You are right; the traditional system does not distinguish between a complete sentence followed by missing text at the beginning of the next sentence, and an incomplete sentence followed by the intact beginning of the next sentence. The period merely indicates that the two chunks of text belong to different sentences. If it’s important to distinguish, then you must format the passage as two separate quotations. Please note, too, that we add a period only at the end of an independent clause.