Have bullets and numbers ever confused you? Have you wondered whether to capitalize or punctuate your list? Well, you’re not the first one. Here are the rules:
Should I use a numbered list or a bulleted one?
Use a numbered list when you want to indicate a sequence, or when you’re listing things in order of importance.
Use bullets when the items are not sequential or are of equal importance.
Should I capitalize the first letters of the items in the list?
Yes, you should capitalize the first letter of each item.
Should I use periods at the end of the items?
Use periods when the items are listed as clauses or phrases. For example:
- Two white boxes with colored designs.
- One small red box, as per the instructions.
- Three large cartons.
Use periods when the items complete the introductory statement. For example:
Students are admitted to the course if they have a
- High school degree.
- International Baccalaureate.
- British Advanced levels.
Do not use periods when the items are short phrases or single words and the introductory statement is complete. For example:
The website had excellent features:
- Beautiful design
- Easy navigation
- Very informative
Word of advice:
Never end a document, article, or e-mail with a list. Always add a sentence or two at the end to give a sense of completeness.
Have I missed out on anything? Are there any other rules?