Ellipsis Styling

Had some ellipsis styling questions:

Do we use unicode or 3 periods?

How do we use spaces? Chicago says to put spaces between each period, AP says to treat it as a 3-letter word with no spaces. If we treat it AP style, do we put spaces between the ellipsis and the words surrounding it? If so, where?

And Then… I Went to Work
And Then … I Went to Work

How about if it comes at the start of a title?

…And Then I Went to Work
… And Then I Went to Work

When ellipsis are used at the start of a track title, do we capitalize the first word regardless? …Baby One More Time doesn’t seem to have any sentence prior to the title, but … And their Eulogies Sang Me to Sleep absolutely does, so should this be styled as … and Their Eulogies Sang Me to Sleep as the style guide’s example of Bring Your Daughter… to the Slaughter does? Using the above example:

… And Then I Went to Work
… and Then I Went to Work

I don’t know what are AP (and Chicago, maybe newspaper stuff), but your link says:

The AP Stylebook says to treat the ellipsis as a three-letter word, with spaces on either side of the ellipsis but no spaces between the dots.

But in my experience (French), there is a space only… after the ellipsis.
And yes… Unicode is better, IMO (Alt+0133 on Windows), it will not break between periods.
If you want spaces between each period and before the first one also included, make sure you are using no-break spaces.

So it’s more simple to use… the unicode character. :wink:

The auto guess case will do it this… way.
If you think there is strong artist intent to make them different, well… make them different. :slight_smile:


the Unicode… is also better because it’ll display properly in filenames :wink:


in general, I only put a space after the ellipsis, unless the ellipsis is the first character, for example:

there are exceptions though… on the spine of the release below, there’s obviously no space on either side of the ellipsis, which is probably why it’s listed…that way most everywhere, including Wikipedia and Spotify.


There’s a great ‘guess punctuation’ script here that automates Unicode ellipsis:


Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but the example of Release group “…and Out Come the Wolves” by Rancid - MusicBrainz was mentioned here. Is the consensus that a word that would usually be lowercased if it appeared in the middle of a title (e.g. and in English) should also be lowercased if it follows an ellipsis at the beginning of the title?

I ask because Style / Language / English - MusicBrainz led me to the opposite conclusion when adding a release recently. Here’s the first bullet point (bold and italics from the original):

  • (1) Always capitalize the first and last word of a title. This rule should be followed even if the words would normally be lowercase according to the other rules. If a title is broken up by major punctuation (colon according to subtitle style, question mark, exclamation mark, em-dash, or quotes), capitalize each distinct piece of the title as if it were a distinct title. Therefore, for example, always capitalize the first and last words of each section.

If …and Out Come the Wolves is the preferred form (which I think I’d agree with!), it feels like the English guideline ought to be clarified.


Here’s another high-profile example that uses …And, so maybe there isn’t actually consensus here:

As with all rules, eventually the edge cases creep in.

When the style guidelines fail me, I usually try to find commonality patterns with an emphasis on artistic intent. This usually involves a lot of research into official outlets for the artist, like quotes or social media posts by the artists themselves, and sometimes even historical production of the work.

The band …and Oceans is almost never credited as “…and Oceans,” but you’ll notice a lack of commonality: their Facebook is “And Oceans,” but their iTunes is “…And Oceans.” Now the iTunes variant is way more common and is shared with Spotify, but what tips the scales for me is a combination of their logo, which has remained unchanged for years across all of their releases, and is also how they choose to have it spelled in official interviews with outlets in their native country that seem to prioritize artistic intent in a way iTunes and Spotify simply don’t. While not the common usage, to me this reveals a definite preference by the band.

To bring this around to your specific case, follow the style principle unless you suspect artistic intent, then hunt down evidence and make a case.

Both of your examples seem to be devoid of anything specific to justify a lowercase “…and” from artistic intent that would supersede the style guideline you quoted, which states “This rule should be followed even if the words would normally be lowercase according to the other rules.”

Metallica barely seemed to care about the actual mix on that record, let alone proper case styling, so the uppercase “…And” follows the MusicBrainz style guideline just fine. Rancid similarly seem to lack a specificity with the cover, since the stylizing is all uppercase, so capitalizing “…And” in that case would seem justified. I would leave the Metallica record alone and change the Rancid record to uppercase in keeping with the guidelines unless you can find reasons they shouldn’t be that way.


Works for me! Digging a bit deeper, it looks like both Rancid ('s web designer) and Epitaph also write it as “…And” (along with everyone else in the world besides MB), so I’ve created some votable edits.

Good evidence. Here’s a case with similar justification that demonstrates the opposite:

The music video via the label’s YouTube lacks the ellipsis, but is very specifically lowercase:

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Yeah, there’s a pretty clear argument to be made for artist intent on that one. I don’t put as much stock in online data (probably after seeing so many cases of lazy typos on Bandcamp), but the tracklist on the back cover also lists that song as “… and Their Eulogies Sang Me to Sleep.” while using normal English title casing and no trailing periods for everything else.

Not specific to ellipses, but when a tracklist follows normal rules for most songs but has a few that are written differently, I’m more inclined to believe that it was deliberate:

1. Some Song         1:23
2. Another Song      2:34
3. tHIS oNE's wEIRD  3:45

Not so much when I see a Bandcamp tracklist like:

1. here's the first song  3:45
2. and here's the second  4:56

or a Spotify tracklist like:

1. WE'RE SHOUTING AT YOU        1:23
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Very true. Sometimes I resort to the overall image the artist has cultivated or the trappings of their genre.

Take “Thereafter” by Save Us From the Archon. The math rock genre has roots in the indie scene and is, to a degree, deliberately obscure. There’s emphasis on precision, technicality, and with this release, a definite air of emo wistfulness. As such, when I see a tracklist that reads like this…

1. I. You don't recall our house near the ocean;
2. swallowed by waves, unable to sleep when
3. eventually, unconsciously
4. you know everything ends, and everyone leaves.
5. (elapse)
6. II. Only that house in my conscience
7. stays caught under tides,
8. awake and regretful,
9. informed of the reality left there in the after.

…I’m way more inclined to believe that’s how it was intended to look given the genre aesthetics.

The same would go for someone like Billie Eilish, who’s built up an entire persona around being blasé, depressive, dark, and in her own words “the bad guy.” When applying that persona to the quietly sinister tone of her debut, the style choices make sense and reinforce those notions.


I would correct this to “…And” based on the guidelines and have on many releases. I never even knew this was controversial until today. Argh. To me it’s the first word of the title so it should be capitalized. It appears that it is this way on Wikipedia and else where. Guidelines definitely need clarification on this.

Okay, now I’m not so sure. I found this:

Looks like it should be lowercase after all?

I know this is an old topic, but I saw it mentioned in another topic today, and it would be useful to add some information and hopefully reach some conclusion.

The following applies to English only, other languages have their own rules. There are two issues here:

  1. Spaces and ellipses in general

In terms of standards and authoritative style guides, this is all over the place, from no spaces at all, to spaces before and after, to spaces before and after and between each dot of the ellipsis (the “Chicago ellipsis”), to different rules for different kinds of ellipses. Wikipedia has a good summary. In the end, most typography guides suggest the typographer can choose by themselves. I would suggest we follow Robert Bringhurst’s recommendation:

In English (but usually not in French), when the ellipsis occurs at the end of a sentence, a fourth dot, the period, is added and the space at the beginning of the ellipsis disappears… When the ellipsis combines with a comma, exclamation mark or question mark, the same typographic principle applies. Otherwise, a word space is required fore and aft.

i … j
l…, l
l, … l
(Robert Bringhurst, The Elements of Typographic Style, pp. 82-83)

  1. Capitalization of first word of a title starting with an ellipsis

This is very rare, and I don’t think it was considered in any style guide. (Usually a sentence staring with any ellipsis is a quotation, and you can adjust the capitalization in the quotation — and starting quotations with ellipses is discouraged.) You can argue it both ways, and I will:

  1. The word “and” is evidently the first word of a title, therefore it should be capitalized. This is a basic rule and there is no reason to complicate it.
  2. Starting a title with an ellipsis implies that the first part of the title is truncated, and, as such, the “and” isn’t the first word in the sentence and should not be capitalized.

I would say both are valid arguments, because there’s no set rules about this. In general the second argument is more convincing to me, unless artist intent is clearly in opposition.

I also agree with @UltimateRiff that the one-character ellipsis is preferable, and Bringhurst had nothing against it, even writing in 1992)


According to guidelines, the first word of a title is always capitalized. But I was asked to revert and put up to a vote. I believe it should be “…And Justice for All” that reflects every online instance outside of MB that I can find, even on Metallica’s own website.

Moderator edit: this and the following 3 posts merged from a separate thread, kind of duplicate content

There’s a thread about this that was bumped recently and this title was one of the examples:

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Thanks for the link. Not sure how I missed all that at the time. Looks like some other editors agree with me on this, so will keep open the vote. Maybe this topic should be merged with the one you link.

Well, it looks like it should be lowercase based on responses from editors associated with AP Stylebook & Chicago Manual of Style


@reosarevok, I think that this is at a point where an edict is needed. Compelling arguments have been made for both “…and” and “…And” on Edit #101655284 - MusicBrainz, and there doesn’t seem to be strong-enough artist intent to sidestep the issue entirely (e.g. the album cover uses all-caps).

When Style / Language / English - MusicBrainz says:

Always capitalize the first and last word of a title. This rule should be followed even if the words would normally be lowercase according to the other rules.

does it include cases where the beginning (or end?) of a phrase or sentence has been elided? I’m happy to suggest alternate wording to make this clear in either direction; I just need to know which it should be. :slight_smile:

In the current state, different editors have different interpretations and title edits go either way depending on who shows up to vote.


I would use lowercase “and” without any space between the ellipses. I think the capitalization is the proper way given the AP & CMOS reference in the below post, but I’m not sure about the use of space before the punctuation. I rarely see printed space before ellipses that doesn’t signify a pause, though, but the guess case feature currently adds a space even if it’s at the start of a line.

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