Nav bar

Some guidance on bullets with help from Britney, Bridget and Brady, and Anna Nicole’s baby daddies

Do not capitalize the first letter of each bulleted item or use punctuation at the end of an entry in a list unless the introduction to the list ends with a colon or period and each entry in it is a complete and independent sentence. And if one bulleted item requires punctuation, they all do.

(For a refresher on whether a colon is required, please read my post on that subject.)

Also, unless the list is a sequence, begin each entry with a bullet, not a number.

In this example, punctuation is not needed at the end of the introduction or each entry, as the list and all of the bulleted items read like one complete sentence.

As Britney Spears, Anna Nicole Smith, and Bridget Moynahan were the three most searched for people on Yahoo! last week, it’s a fair assumption that American culture is most interested in women who

  • shave their heads and enter rehab
  • die in a casino’s hotel and then have a slew of men claiming to be their baby daddy
  • carry Tom Brady’s love child

Often writers want to punctuate each entry with a semicolon or comma and add “and” to the end of the penultimate item. Doing so is wrong.

Again, this advice is based on The Chicago Manual of Style. The Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications, for example, mandates colons (or a period) before every bulleted list, that each item in a list begins with a capital letter, and usually that each entry ends with a period.

, , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to Some guidance on bullets with help from Britney, Bridget and Brady, and Anna Nicole’s baby daddies

  1. Matthew Stibbe (Bad Language) February 27, 2007 at 1:40 am #

    I like to capitalise bulleted points. It’s just me, perhaps, but I think it looks tidier and gives each bullet more impact. Other people, including such lightweights as the Chicago Manual of Style and my proofreader, disagree. I’m as much of a grammar nazi as the next guy but this might be my personal quirk.

Reply