wild goose chase


From the Ancient Greek: ἔλλειψις, meaning ‘a falling short’ or ‘an omission’. Don’t think of it as a form of punctuation. Don’t think of it as a writer’s tool, or a literary device. That would suck all the mystery and wonder out of it. There’s power in those three dots. 

Think of it as simple magic.

It can be used to indicate a momentary hesitation in the middle of a conversation, a bit of awkwardness when you don’t know quite what to say, or how to say it, or even if you should say it. When used at the end of a sentence, it’s more formally called an aposiopesis, also from the Greek: ἀποσιώπησις, meaning ‘becoming silent’. A comment that tapers off, an emotion too powerful to express, an unfinished thought, the ending of which must be supplied by the reader’s own imagination. There’s a lot of weight in words left unsaid.

It can even be used to describe a forlorn echo, a melancholy unanswered call softly diminishing, a lone voice crying out in the isolation of a cave or canyon. Is anybody there…? Hello…?

We’ve all asked that question. We’ve all been refused an answer. Sometimes the only answers we get are the questions we ask.

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