Re: Colons, lists, and periods

Subject: Re: Colons, lists, and periods
From: John Weiland <weiland -at- CISCO -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 1994 14:03:15 PST

My copy of "Words Into Type" says the following:

A colon is used after an introductory statement that contains the
words "as follows" or "the following;" either a colon or a period may
be used after other statements introducing lists.

When the introduction is not a complete sentence and one or more of
the items of the list are needed to complete it, no colon or dash
should be used.
Two types of psychotherapy are
* Client-centered therapy
* Rational-emotive therapy

Additionally, never put punctuation before a list if it wouldn't be
there in a sentence that isn't broken into bullets.

John Weiland .. ..
Customer Documentation || ||
Cisco Systems, Inc || ||
Menlo Park, CA 94026 |||| ||||
Tel : (415)688-7827 ..:||||||:..:||||||:..
Fax : (415)688-4660 Cisco Systems, Inc.
E-mail: weiland -at- cisco -dot- com

> Regarding bulleted-list conventions:

> We use a period if any of the items in the list are a sentence or a
> good-sided fragment of one. If they're all short items and none of them
> needs a period, they don't get periods.

> But: We don't start a sentence, and then present several bulleted items
> as possible ways of finishing it. I was taught (while working on the
> Daily Aztec at San Diego State, Bonni) that a bulleted list is used for
> presenting several items of more-or-less equal weight. The "and" is
> implied, and each item can stand on its own -- it's not an ending for
> some sentence fragment that you may have seen several lines above.

> So I would reconstruct Bonni's second example like this:

> Here's what you can count on me for:

> * Mentioning all picky items, whether anyone wants to hear them or not.

> * Coming up with some weird devil's advocate position on any given topic.

> * Thoroughly enjoying creating unrest and dissent.

> -- to me, that's easier to read. You're not saying "Now, just how was
> that sentence supposed to begin?" all the time, and you don't have to
> look for that "and" at the end to make sense of the whole set of
> bullets.

> Incidentally, I'm using that "Here's" more and more these days. I like
> it a lot better than stuff like "the following . . ."

> Arthur
> GeoQuest
> Corte Madera, CA

> > John Eldard asks:
> >
> > "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?"
> >
> > I use a period when the bulleted item is a complete sentence in and of
> > (which it rarely is after a colon, but once in a while it can be).
> >
> > e.g.
> >
> > You can use many different methods to type:
> > * Pressing the keys leaves an imprint on the page.
> > * Hitting the keys dents your fingers and the keys.
> > * Clicking the keys produces a nice beat that you can dance to.
> >
> > I use a comma after bulleted items that complete a sentence, with an "and"
> > "or" before the last one and a period at the end of that same last one.
> >
> > e.g.
> >
> > Count on me to:
> > * Mention all picky items whether anyone wants to hear them or not,
> > * Come up with some weird devil's advocate position on any given topic, and
> > * Thoroughly enjoy creating unrest and dissent.
> >
> > I use no punctuation after bulleted items that form a list of individual
> > elements.
> >
> > e.g.
> >
> > I like to eat:
> > * Steaks
> > * Macaroni and Cheese
> > * Baked potatoes with butter and Guyere cheese
> > * Chili
> >
> > I don't know if this is technically correct, but it's at least consistent,
> > people always seem to know what I mean.
> >
> > NOTE: This is how I do things in print -- on this list I just type them any
> old
> > which way. Y'all seem to get my drift ok, so I don't worry as much.
> >
> > Bonni Graham |
> > Technical Writer |
> > Easel Corporation, ENFIN Technology Lab | Never tell people how to
> > Bonni_Graham_at_Enfin-SD -at- relay -dot- proteon -dot- com | do things. Tell them
> > President, San Diego STC | what to do and they will
> > | surprise you with their
> > NOTE: apparently my email address needs | ingenuity.
> > to be typed exactly as it appears here, |
> > punctuation and all, or the system gets | --George Patton
> > upset. |
> >

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