Quotations and Dialogue

Q. I am editing a nineteenth-century American diary, and I often want to omit passages that span a paragraph break. If I use, say, the first sentence of the first paragraph, then the second sentence of the second paragraph, how should it look? Using two ellipses looks weird to me. Or maybe I don’t need to indicate the new paragraph at all?

A. If you’re running the quotation in with the surrounding text instead of presenting it as a block quotation, there’s no need to signal the paragraph break; simply use ellipses for the omitted part as recommended in CMOS 13.50, 13.53, and 13.54. But if you’re using a block quotation (as for one hundred words or more), then show the paragraph break as follows:

Let’s pretend that the words in this extract (which is another term for block quotation) have been reproduced from the beginning of the first paragraph of a quoted source. This is the first paragraph continued, but our quotation is interrupted after this sentence—a break that’s signaled after a sentence-ending period by the three spaced dots of a Chicago-style ellipsis, like this. . . .
 . . . This is the second sentence from next paragraph of the quoted source. Note how the ellipsis at the beginning of this paragraph (the second ellipsis in this quotation) is preceded by a paragraph indent.

If the second paragraph in the block quotation above had started with the beginning of the quoted paragraph in the original, then the second ellipsis would have been omitted; see CMOS 13.56. But be careful. If the intended meaning of the original text wouldn’t be clear even to readers who haven’t consulted that same source, make adjustments until it is.