University of Houston-Victoria

University College

Using Ellipsis in APA Style

Author/Creation:  Karalyn Jones,  September 2007. Revised:  2009.
Summary:  Provides advice for handling omitted material in quotations using  APA documentation style.
Learning Objectives: To know when to use ellipsis  in APA. To be able to format omitted material correctly.

 

Sometimes it is necessary  to omit context  from quoted  material. An ellipsis  ( . . . ) is used to indicate something was omitted. In APA, the ellipsis  is generally  used only to indicate omitted material from within  a sentence.

Importantly, writers should  ensure  the omission of material (words,  phrases, etc.) does not  change  the meaning of the quoted material (the author’s intent) or create  grammatical errors.

To form an ellipsis  in APA style,  use three  periods  with  a space before each period  and  a space after  the last period.

     Original: The  hurricane no longer  posed much  of a threat to the Houston home of Mission Control, but  managers did not
     want to take any chance  and  proceeded  toward  a Tuesday landing.

     Parts Omitted: “The  hurricane no longer  posed much  of a threat . . . but  managers did not want  to take  any chance  and
     proceeded  toward  a Tuesday landing” (Peterson, para.  2, 2007).

Four  periods  are used to indicate omitted material between  sentences: one to indicate the end of the sentence and  three  to indicate the omission.  Notice  that there  is no space before the first period—the one that indicates the end of the sentence.

    Original: Primary sources  are original works.  They  can be first  hand  accounts, created  by participants or observers
    (eyewitnesses)  to events,  or original works of art  (written and visual).  They  may have been created  at the  time  of the
    event or at a later  date.

    Parts Omitted: “Primary sources  are original works.  . . . They  may have been created  at the time  of the event or at a later
    date”  (Leibensperger, para.  2, 2005).

Ellipses are usually  not  included at the beginning or ending  of a quoted  passage in APA unless the ellipses  are needed  to prevent misreading.

 

Practice Exercises
For  each of the following,  use ellipsis  to replace  the underlined material.

  1. large numbers of refugees from Darfur have fled to Uganda in the south and to Egypt in the north.

    -From  the 5th  paragraph in Judith Latham’s “Deployment of UN Peacekeepers May Not End  Violence in Sudan, Say Africa Experts” copyrighted 2007.

  2. You not  only must understand your audience but also keep this audience in mind  at all times  as you draft  your paper. Many  times  your audience will be dictated to you by yourinstructor or workplace  situation; other  times you will get to choose an audience. In either  case, you’ll have to understand and  then  adapt your writing to that audience

    - From the second page of Summer Leibensperger’s “Define  the Purpose, Consider the Audience, and  Develop  the Thesis” copyrighted 2003.

  3. Of key importance to the theoretical structure of the model is the tenet that individual styles must be assessed  and  that, if a learner is going to have the best opportunity to learn, instructional techniques must be used that are congruent with each student’s style

    -From  paragraph eleven in DeBello’s  “Comparison of Eleven  Major  Learning Styles Models”  copyrighted 1990.

 

Answers

  1. Crocket  suggests  that “large numbers of refugees from Darfur have fled to Uganda” (as cited  in Latham, 2007, para.  5).

  2.  “You not  only must understand your audience but  also keep this  audience in mind  at all times  as you draft  your paper  . . . and . . . adapt your writing to that audience” (Leibensperger, 2003, p2).

  3. “Individual styles must be assessed,  and,  . . . if a learner is going to have the best opportunity to learn,  instructional techniques must be used that are congruent with  each student’s style”(Bello, 1990,  p. 205).