It’s a classic element of any old western movie, the main character riding off into the sunset. In many ways it is the perfect ending; it gives the viewer a sense of closure while implying that the story continues.

In your writing, you can use an ellipsis to make your quotations ride into the proverbial sunset. Ellipses are used to omit one or more unnecessary words from a quotation. An ellipsis is three dots separated from each other and all surrounding text by spaces. You can also create an ellipsis by pressing the ALT, CTRL, and PERIOD keys, although the ellipsis it creates will not have spaces.  Ellipses can be used in the middle of a sentence, as in

“The best remedy…is to get enough sleep.”

When an omission follows a complete sentence, use four dots.  Place the first dot with no space between it and the word ending the sentence, as if it were a period.

“The desk was made of wood….It had many drawers.”

You can also retain the punctuation surrounding an ellipsis if it better preserves the passage’s meaning.

“Where did he go? . . . He was supposed to be here.”

By making lengthy quotes clear and concise you can drastically improve the readability of your document while retaining the basic structure, all without misquoting anyone! The next time you have extraneous information mid-sentence, omit it using an ellipsis.