aposiopesis

Aposiopesis

Aposiopesis is when a sentence is purposefully left incomplete or cut off. It’s caused by an inability or unwillingness to continue speaking. This allows the ending to be filled in by the listener’s imagination. An example would be the threat “Get out, or else—!” This device often portrays its users as overcome with passion (fear, anger, excitement) or modesty. To mark the occurrence of aposiopesis with punctuation, an em-rule (—) or an ellipsis (…) may be used.

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