, I have a problem with this.jpg
There is no four period ellipsis. There never was, never will be, and any attempt at doing so only makes me cringe.
In fact, while not wanting to go into lengthy explanations as to why, the only punctuation which ever ends a sentence has, and remains, being the period. The exclusion of it has nothing to do with so call "strength" and all to do with both laziness and printing/typewriting practices which understood that .? and the sort simply were silly things to do, and under no circumstances where they ever truly needed to happen because capitalization, spacing, and an understanding that there was indeed a pause there provided the necessary period stop there rather than the punctuation itself (similarly, the ellipsis didn't exist as a written punctuation for more than 300 years since its inception, simply because everyone understood that it was present there even if not printed due to conventions and practical concerns, but that's a whole different story). If you need anything to guide you to this fact, look up the rules of capitalizations in regards to question marks and how placing them within a sentence without capitalizing the words works: because it is assumed that the sentence is a single one with only changes in intonation thanks to it, and this was common practice all throughout 1800s~1900s, and some style books and publishes still very much don't see what the fuss is about. The question mark and the punctuation are, then, special marks which have serve, and remain serving, the single purpose of the intonation of words and/or complete sentences rather than marking their ending in some clever way (which, without going to lengths, is why this ...? and —? are valid as long as they follow the specific rules of those two punctuation marks).
Which then brings us back to this:
.... ... ..., ...! ...?
The first one is the miscalled four period ellipsis and I want you, from now on, to never call it that again. That covered, here is the reason why: that is a period and an ellipsis which has lost the traditional spaces which it had in both sides (just as the em dash lost its own spaces to the churning of time, the error within printing, and the revolution that variations in sizes of punctuation, brought by the computer, which made the hyphen and the rest to have non-standard em sizes depending on the typeface). This distinction is the most important in ever determining if you need it, because, as I said before, the period is the only punctuation that ends a sentence, but by the same token, it must end the sentence.
Practically, this means you must only add the period to your dialogues when there is a complete statement enclose within your quotation marks:
He mumbled, "I saw hell in his eyes...."
And you must exclude them when it is but a fragment:
He mumbled, "I saw..."
Why? Because the second one there is no section to end. There is a reason why sentence fragments are disliked grammatically, and that is because the period is not really doing its job, which is to close sentences out and make sure each of the grammatical most basic units (the sentence, as you can have a perfectly written words in, but still say nonsense). Without it, the languages stutters and quickly loses meaning, so whatever you do try to keep those fragment in line. In turn, it allows you to exclude the period from the affair and enjoy having simply a single punctuation mark in your dialogue.
And before I leave, on more thing to be spoken of, as the logic of the other should follow from what was previously said: there will be a situation where you will wonder if this is correct:
"I fear you didn't understand when I said tricking was a bad..." he said slowly, looking at the flame within his hands.
And if you need a comma there. The comma located within dialogues is more of a conventions tool which attempt to ensure signal there is a direct link between what is being said (and what is omitted) with the words that describe it. In a way, one could try to argue that the dialogue becomes the dependent component of the whole sentence and makes sure that a reader can easily know when speech stops, when it begins, and when does it end. Historically, people have been all over in this regard and there is no logical argument in favor of keeping the comma if the connection is easily discernible (recall the case of the period and the question mark). In other words, either one is valid as far as normal constructions are concerned because the ellipsis links two parts (because there was an omission on the middle), but adding the comma has gotten less acceptance as time goes by for no other reason than that people can.
And I return back to my silent watch and wait.
Two more thing, before I forget:
1.) In case you come to debate after consulting with him, I can't say I will be able to respond.
2.) There is this situation:
He mumbled, "I saw hell...."
He mumbled, "I saw hell...."
Where the bold parts are the ellipsis (technically suspension points, but that is also another vein of explanation I do not feel capable of summarizing within my limited time).
As it might be easy to know, there are not the same sentences and they serve completely different intents (not that anyone would notice thank to the elimination of the spacing around them, but I digress) but the one that ends with a period is in the same situation of the comma, were that period is only there as a convention for the dialogue, which needs something to imply its ending. Like the question mark and the exclamation mark, the period is implied and can be excluded in the second one, but just remember it can confuse intent and meaning excluding these things for space. Put into other words, it's your choice, but keep consistent.