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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > January 2016 > Miscellany

Miscellany

THE WORLD OF WRITING

Christie’s secrets, cookbooks coming up, cowboy croquet, the pleasure of poetry and finding your finish... all in the wide, wacky world of writing

Punctuation points in triplicate

The Guardian’s Alison Flood reviewed a new book, Ellipsis in English Literature: Signs of Omission (Cambridge University Press) by Dr Anne Toner, which identified how the three dots of the ellipsis arrived, and then spread widely in English literature.

We’re told that one of the earliest examples of the ellipsis, ‘that tantalising piece of punctuation’, had been traced to the 16th century by a Cambridge academic.

Anne Toner had pinned it down to a 1588 edition of the Roman dramatist Terence’s play, Andria, which had been translated into English by Maurice Kyffin and printed by Thomas East, and in which hyphens, rather than dots, marked incomplete utterances by the play’s characters.

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