Re: Colons, lists, and periods

Subject: Re: Colons, lists, and periods
From: Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 1994 11:06:34 -0500

John P. Eldard asks about bulleted lists:

> ** High Priority **
> I would like to hear others style rules for the use of colons for bulleted
> lists. When do I use a period at the end of the bulleted list? When do I
> use periods for each bulleted entry? When don't I use periods at all? I
> have read a few style guides about this, but they do not address the use
> of the period. How do you do it?

Our style guide says to use a colon after a lead-in that is a complete
sentence containing "the following" or "as follows". If the introduction
is a complete sentence that does not contain "the following" or "as
follows", you can use a colon or a period, depending on the lead-in.

When list items are complete sentences, capitalize the first letter, and
put a period at the end of each item.

If one list item contains a complete sentence, end each list item with a
period whether it is a sentence or not, and punctuate the sentence
within the list item appropriately.

If none of the list items is a complete sentence and none contains a
complete sentence, punctuate only the last item in the list with a
trailing period. This applies even if each list item completes the
incomplete introductory phrase, since each list item may be a part of a

That's what our internal style guide says. YMMV.

|Len Olszewski, Technical Writer |"You can observe a lot by watching."|
|saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com|Cary, NC, USA| - Yogi Berra |
| Opinions this ludicrous are mine. Reasonable opinions will cost you.|

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