Re: Bullets

Subject: Re: Bullets
From: Beth Mazur <mazur -at- MAYA -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 1997 16:33:36 -0500

At 3:00 PM -0600 1/6/97, Lisa Gardner wrote:
>This may be an easy question for others to answer, but my colleague and
>I have a disagreement regarding bullets.
>If you are using bullets to list instructions (in complete sentences)
>should you put a period at the end of those bulleted sentences?

I vaguely recall someone posting the answer to this, but it may have been
on a different list. The Chicago Manual of Style says (in reference to
an enumerated list):

"Note that in the example above, each item begins with a capital
letter and ends without punctuation. If, as is also the case above,
the enumerated items are syntactically part of the sentence, the
items may also begin lowercase and carry appropriate end punctuation
see example in 5.10)." (8.76, p 314, 14th ed.)

The text accompanying the referenced example states:

"Omit periods after items in a vertical list unless one or more of
the items are complete sentences. If the vertical list completes a
sentence begun in an introductory element, the final period is also
omitted unless the items in the list are separated by commas or
semicolons" (5.10, p 160, 14th ed.)

None of the examples provided demonstrate how the above is applied to
lists of complete sentences, but it seems an easy inference to make that
periods should be included at the end of the sentences.

However, if these are sequential instructions, I'd enumerate them (e.g.,
1,2,3) rather than use bullets.

Beth Mazur
mazur -at- maya -dot- com

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