Ever since reading Journey to the End of the Night (1932) I’ve enthusiastically over-used ellipses. Even if they’re unprovoked and grammatically incorrect in regard to the traditional function of the punctuation mark, it doesn’t matter: I just like them, and I feel like they correlate pretty well to how most of our brains naturally operate . . . but more on that some other time.
If you’re not familiar with Louis-Ferdinand Céline‘s novel — beloved by curmudgeons from Sartre to Bukowski to Godard — it’s a WWI-era semi-autobiography packed full of dark, misanthropic, ellipsis-saturated gems like this:
“One fine day you decide to talk less and less about the things you care most about, and when you have to say something, it costs you an effort . . . You’re good and sick of hearing yourself talk . . . you abridge . . . You give up . . . For thirty years you’ve been talking . . . You don’t care about being right anymore. You even lose your desire to keep hold of the small place you’d reserved yourself among the pleasures of life . . . You’re fed up . . . From that time on you’re content to eat a little something, cadge a little warmth, and sleep as much as possible on the road to nowhere.”
Bleak and nihilistic, indeed, but the vacant appeal of those trinities of periods is undeniable, isn’t it? So let’s optimize your mobile device with this simple shortcut to SMS just like Céline . . .
By default, your iPhone requires 10 finger-gestures to produce The Chicago Manual of Style-endorsed full-stop ellipsis, which, to be clear, is SPACE-PERIOD-SPACE-PERIOD-SPACE-PERIOD-SPACE and appears exactly as what’s between these brackets [ . . . ].
To execute, you first have to press the ‘space bar’ (1) after finishing the preceding word, in this case “geez”:
Then, you have to hit the ‘123 button’ (2) to switch over to numerals and punctuation:
Followed by the ‘period button’ (3):
And then you have to repeat this whole cycle two more times — space (4), 123 (5), period (6), space (7), 123 (8), period (9), space (10) — until you finally arrive here:
But ain’t nobody got time for 10 steps per full-stop ellipsis anymore, so fortunately with some quick tinkering you can reduce the necessary actions down to just 4 — a 60% decrease in gestures, fyi, and a 78% decrease in total pixels that your finger must travel across the touchscreen.
Optimizing Your iPhone for Céline-esque Prose
So, to optimize, go to your iPhone Settings > General > Keyboard > Add New Shortcut:
Enter the full-stop ellipsis into the “Phrase” field (don’t forget to start and finish with a space), then enter a double-period (no spaces) into the “Shortcut” field, like this, and hit “Save”:
Boom. There you have it.
Now, whenever you need an ellipsis, simply hit ‘123’ and then double-tap ‘period’ to bring up the shortcut you just created:
Hit ‘space bar’ once more to activate it and you’ll be on your own journey to the end of the night in no time: