Re[2]: Correct punctuation for bulleted lists

Subject: Re[2]: Correct punctuation for bulleted lists
From: Harry Hager <hhager -at- dttus -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com, christi -at- sageinst -dot- COM
Date: 23 Mar 2000 13:10:29 -0600


Chisti,

No contradiction; a misunderstanding.

The sentence "Unless the list item is a proper noun, name of a
product, or is accepted jargon and the first letter is not
capitalized." could have been written better. The key word is the AND late
in the sentence.

Here are some examples:
- ebay = a copyrighted proper name and therefore not capitalized
- eBIS = a copyrighted proper name of the company I work for and therefore
not capitalized
- e-money = jargon that, to me at least, seems better when left in the
lower case

I'm stuck in a rut with the e's but you get the idea.

Christi wrote:

> I would absolutely not capitalize the first letter of each of the above
list items. They do not begin a sentence; they are not proper nouns; they
are not words of the kind that require capitalization. So why give them the
added importance that capitalization does?<

I do it because it is a bulleted list; it is not a sentence. Bulleted lists
do not follow the grammar and punctuation rules of a sentences. Bulleted
lists have their own grammar and puntuation rules.

How many references would you like that say initial caps in the first word
of an item in a bulleted list is okay and even proper? I can probably dig
up a dozen or so. At my desk, I have at least 5 refernces that say it's
correct and proper. At home, I'm sure I have others. However, these dozen
or so references do not include the Chicago Manual of Style, which I also
have at my desk. You could probably find some references that say not to
capitalize them but I'd bet that they are not written for technical
writers.

BTW, here are 5 references at my desk:
- Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications
- Shipley Associates Style Guide
- Bugs in Writing, Lyn Dupre
- Technical Editing, Judith A. Tareutz
- How to Communicate Technical Information, Jonathan Price and Henry Korman

Question. When you write an outline, do you use initial caps for the first
word in each line?

Perhaps we simply agree to disagree on the grammar and punctuation rules
for bulleted lists.

H. Jim Hager
Deloitte Consulting
Pittsburgh Solution Center
hhager -at- dttus -dot- com



______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: Correct punctuation for bulleted lists
Author: christi -at- sageinst -dot- COM at Internet-USA
Date: 3/23/00 10:33 AM


Harry Hager at hhager -at- dttus -dot- com wrote:
> No punctuation is needed for these short phrases in the list.
>
> Here's what I usually do:
>
> The audit activities Wazoo Software records for a user are as follows:
> - Adding widgets
> - Removing widgets
> - Viewing widget content
>
<snip>
> - Changed the first letter in each list item to a capital letter
> (Initial caps). I ALWAYS do this. (Unless the list item is a proper
> noun, name of a product, or is accepted jargon and the first letter is
> not capitalized.)

I am confused by this.
First, let me say that I would absolutely not capitalize the first letter of
each of the above list items. They do not begin a sentence; they are not
proper nouns; they are not words of the kind that require capitalization. So
why give them the added importance that capitalization does?
What confuses me is that my reasoning seems to agree with the last sentence
of Harry's post (in parens), yet he capitalized anyway. To me, that last
sentence directly contradicts the example cited.

Christi Carew
Technical Writer

Sage Instruments
Freedom, CA, USA
www.sageinst.com

- Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old
people are works of art.




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