Communication Skills

JS Tip 189: From the Writing Workshops: Punctuation and Lists

A good friend asked, “I never know when a period is appropriate at the end of a bullet point. Help!”

Use a period at the end of a bullet point when the bullet point is a complete sentence:

The policy has three conditions:

{C}·      The property must be free and clear.

{C}·      The property must be within Davis County.

{C}·      The property must have no ghosts.

Don’t use a period at the end of a bullet point when the bullet point is not a complete sentence:

The company has warehouses in three cities:

{C}·      Atchison 

{C}·      Topeka

{C}·      Santa Fe

(You saw that one coming, didn’t you?)

(If you’ve got a mix of complete sentences and short phrases, rewrite the list to be all complete sentences or all short phrases.)

One More Thought

Introduce the list with a colon if the introduction is a complete sentence:

The policy has three conditions:

{C}·      The property must be free and clear.

{C}·      The property must be within Davis County.

{C}·      The property must have no ghosts.

Introduce the list with a dash if the introduction is not a complete sentence:

The company has warehouses in—

{C}·      Atchison 

{C}·      Topeka

{C}·      Santa Fe

If you have questions (or arguments), let us know. We love this stuff.