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Subject:Re: Periods and bullets From:Kathleen MacDowell <kathleen -at- writefortheuser -dot- com> To:mhbethel -at- rmbeditorial -dot- com Date:Wed, 1 Apr 2009 18:46:50 -0500
Thanks, Marci, for the thorough reminder.
I'd forgotten about the situation where fragments are considered parts of
the sentence and punctuated as if in a sentence (semi-colons, period).
On Wed, Apr 1, 2009 at 6:19 PM, Marci Bethel, RMB Editorial Services <
mhbethel -at- rmbeditorial -dot- com> wrote:
> John wrote:
> My position is that a bullet list of gragments gets no
> The crate had
> - oranges
> - apples
> - lemons
> and her position is that the last bullet gets a period.
> The crate had
> - oranges
> - apples
> - lemons.
> Any validity to this?
> No. You're right; you can cite CMoS 15, 6.127 if you need an
> authority. CMoS 6.127 also advises that the introductory
> phrase should be a complete sentence that ends in a colon
> (for example, "The crate had the following contents:").
> Your co-worker might be thinking of a situation in which the
> introductory phrase and the fragments are treated and
> punctuated as a sentence, but that case would require
> additional punctuation (CMoS 15, 6.129).
> Also, here is a relevant Q&A from CMoS online
> Q. What are the proper guidelines for punctuating the
> phrases/clauses in a bulleted list?
> A. Many people have been asking us about how to punctuate
> vertical listsânumbered, unnumbered, and bulleted. Do you
> capitalize the first letter of each new item? What about
> terminal punctuation? Periods? Semicolons? Commas? The
> following list will, I hope, answer these questions:
> Vertical lists are best introduced by a grammatically
> complete sentence (i.e., a sentence that is still a sentence
> all by itself, without the help of the list), like the one
> above, followed by a colon.
> No periods are required at the end of entries unless at
> least one entry is a complete sentence, in which case a
> period is necessary at the end of each entry.
> Items in a list should be syntactically similar.
> If items are numbered, as they are in this example, a period
> follows each number, and each entry begins with a capital
> letterâwhether or not the entry forms a complete sentence.
> Bulleted lists are considered appropriate mainly for
> instructional or promotional material and are treated the
> same as numbered lists in terms of capitalization and
> A group of unnumbered items each of which consists of an
> incomplete sentence should begin lowercase and requires no
> terminal punctuation.
> If a list completes the sentence that introduces it, items
> begin with lowercase letters, commas or semicolons are used
> to separate each item, and the last item ends with a period;
> such lists are often better run into the text rather than
> presented vertically.
> Thatâs Chicago style, in any case. I think this style
> demonstrates a marriage between the principles of
> consistency and grammatical integrityâand in this marriage
> there are some compromises. If you are dissatisfied with a
> list after applying these principles, consider rewriting the
> list or scrapping the list format altogether. Vertical lists
> are usually introduced to highlight and clarify a principle;
> any awkwardness can destroy their raison dâÃtre.
> Marci Bethel, Freelance Technical Editor
> RMB Editorial Services, www.rmbeditorial.com
> mhbethel -at- rmbeditorial -dot- com
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