Re: Numerals and Bullets

Subject: Re: Numerals and Bullets
From: Romay Jean Sitze <rositze -at- NMSU -dot- EDU>
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 1996 19:26:01 -0700

On Fri, 5 Jan 1996, Elizabeth Carmack wrote:

> Greetings Folks: I have a question about the use of numerals. I
> understand that style rules say spell out whole numbers between zero
> and nine and use numerals for 10 and above. But what if the number is
> linked to a particular measurement, like miles, cubic inches, etc.?
> Some style guides say always use numerals for certain specific
> measurements, others don't address it. I think writing "a
> 1-cubic-inch tube" or "a 3-mile-radius" looks funny. What is the
> consensus out there?

A "3-mile-radius may look funny, but seems to be correct. The _Handbook
of Technical Writing (Brusaw, Alred & Oliu) says "A hyphen is always used
as part of a letter or number modifier" as in 5-cents, 9-inch, etc.

> And a question on bullets: When using a bulleted list, is it proper
> to capitalize the first letter of the first word in each item even if
> they are not complete sentences?

The use of capitals here seems to be a matter of which style you are
using. In most of the cases with which I am familiar, sentences and
short phrases began with a capitalized first letter in the first word,
where as lists consisting of single letters were usually in all lower case
letters. My suggestions, check the literature in your particular area and
see what has been commonly practiced.

> And what about punctuation? I say
> semicolons to separate them if they are complete sentences and commas
> if they are not. Thanks for your comments.

Here again, punctuation seems to be a matter of preference. Complete
sentences are frequently punctuated with a period, although a semicolon
can also be used. Phrases and lists of words frequently do not have any
punctuation at the end of the line. Depending on the way the material is
presented, a comma may be preferred. Again, checking the professional
publications in your field may offer some guidance.

RoMay Sitze, rositze -at- nmsu -dot- edu

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