The ellipsis and em dash are two fun tools are a writer’s dream — like those special powers you pick up in a video game and use at just the right moment. They can add or subtract things that words can’t, inject feeling and emotion and serve as a way to further your story or content.

Here is how to use them correctly:

An ellipsis usually signifies a pause or missing text in quoted material or first-person content. 

  • “We have specially designed temperature-controlled thermal shippers … to ship by air to major hubs within a country/region and by ground transport to dosing locations,” Pfizer’s website details.
  • “Separate bullets with a semicolon, if you want to look like a pretentious weirdo. (Kidding! … Sort of.)”  |  Read more: Establishing Your Organization’s Copy Style 

An em dash is used to indicate an interruption in speech or for emphasis:

  • Interruption: “Dr. Foster knew exactly what she was doing with the — I mean, she was like a miracle worker with those kids,” said Ros Mahendra, partner physician at Foster-Mahendra Pediatrics.
  • Emphasis: “But these questions — and many others — come down to an organization’s style rather than grammar.”

We love these two tools so much that we recommend using them generously, when it feels right — following the guide above, of course.