Need clarification on use of M-dash and ellipsis in screenplay, I’ve seen numerous conflicting sources on this?

Asked by: Bill Cox

How do you use dashes and ellipses in a screenplay?

One of the most common uses of an ellipsis is to indicate a pause in dialogue as with this from the screenplay (500) Days of Summer, written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber: The pause there to set off and indicate the importance of “the one.” Some screenwriters use dashes to convey the same thing as ellipses.

How do you use dashes in a screenplay?


So in this video we're gonna cover how to properly use dashes. And ellipses not just so that your formatting is correct so that you convey the right emotions. Through the punctuation that you use

What are the comma em-dash and ellipsis used for in writing?

Used in dialogue, it shows a pause in a character’s speech. In contrast, the em-dash is used to emphasize a phrase or to indicate an interruption in speech.



When to use the ellipsis or the dash in writing.

Dialogue: ellipsis vs. em-dash
Trailing off: ellipsis use “Jonathan, please, what I meant was…”
Being cut off: em-dash use “Jonathan, please, what I meant was—”

What does three dots mean in a script?

Three dots (an ellipsis) at the end of a sentence are used to indicate that a speaker has trailed off.

What do two dashes mean in a screenplay?

Here we're using two dashes to indicate that he's been stopped he's been stopped in the middle of talking. So these are again two separate dashes. Don't let your computer make that into one long M

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How do you write an interrupted dialogue in a screenplay?

As with all formatting advice, the idea is to clearly express your vision without interrupting the flow of the screenplay. One easy way to show one character interrupting another is to use double-dashes or an ellipsis to indicate the first character’s dialogue is being interrupted.

Is it one dash or two dashes?

There are three forms of dashes: em, en, and the double hyphen. The most common types of dashes are the en dash (–) and the em dash (—). A good way to remember the difference between these two dashes is to visualize the en dash as the length of the letter N and the em dash as the length of the letter M.

What does a slash mean in a script?

When a character recites poetry or song lyrics, enclose the lines in quotes. You may indicate the end of a line by means of a slash (“/”). This is preferable to ending each line with a hard return, as it does not alter the dialogue margins.

What is the difference between a beat and a pause?

They mean the same thing, though I almost always use beat. The term is probably taken from music, because it refers to the natural rhythm of dialogue. A beat is the pause a speaker takes to separate thoughts. Calling one out can help clarify a joke, a point of information, or a shift in the scene.

What are some examples of ellipsis?

John saw two hawks in the sky, and Bill saw three. This is an example of a noun phrase ellipsis because “hawks” is omitted from the noun phrase “three hawks.” Notice that when a noun phrase ellipsis is used, the word or words that are omitted from one clause appear in the other clause.

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When should ellipses be used?

With quoted material, use an ellipsis to indicate that a whole sentence or more or a whole paragraph or more has been omitted between sentences. Remember that you must first use appropriate punctuation (a period, a question mark, or an exclamation mark) to end the sentence that precedes the ellipsis.

How are ellipses used?

The term ellipsis comes from the Greek word meaning “omission,” and that’s just what an ellipsis does—it shows that something has been left out. When you’re quoting someone, you can use an ellipsis to show that you’ve omitted some of their words.

How do you use ellipses in dialogue?

Use Ellipses to Indicate a Pause in the Middle of a Line of Dialogue. General Rule: Ellipses in the middle of a line of dialogue indicate that the speaker stopped talking momentarily. “Do you know of any good places to hike around the Illinois Valley?” he asked.

What is a dash used for?

A dash (—) is a punctuation mark used to set off an idea within a sentence and may be used alone or in pairs. Dashes interrupt a thought in a more dramatic way than a phrase enclosed in commas, but less theatrically than parentheses.

What are the 3 types of ellipsis?

There are quite some types of ellipsis, but let us consider three types; these are Linguistic Context Ellipsis, Social Context Ellipsis and Situational Ellipsis.

What is an example of a dash?

Dashes replace otherwise mandatory punctuation, such as the commas after Iowa and 2020 in the following examples: Without dash: The man from Ames, Iowa, arrived. With dash: The man—he was from Ames, Iowa—arrived.

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What is the difference between ellipsis and ellipses?

Ellipsis (singular) usually means three dots (periods or full stops) to represent the above omission. In other words, ellipsis means one specific punctuation mark composed of three dots. I deleted that ellipsis and replaced it with an em dash. Ellipses (plural, with an e instead of an i) is the plural of ellipsis.

What is ellipsis in editing?

Applied to filmmaking, ellipsis is the omission of action whose importance to the narrative can be inferred from action, including dialogue, preceding and following the omitted action.

Which of the following constitutes a cinematic ellipsis?

That two shots need not have any actual relationship to one another to affect the viewer. Which of the following constitutes a cinematic ellipsis? A cut between a shot of woman contemplating diving off the high-dive board and a shot of her emerging from the water. What is “montage” in the Hollywood sense of the word?

Is an ellipsis a figure of speech?

Figures of speech can be broken into two main groups: figures of speech that play with the ordinary meaning of words (such as metaphor, simile, and hyperbole), and figures of speech that play with the ordinary arrangement or pattern in which words are written (such as alliteration, ellipsis, and antithesis).