How should you punctuate bullet points?

Bullet points can be a very useful addition to your documents. They can make it easy for your reader to quickly take in important information or instructions.

But once you have your bullet list, how should you punctuate it? Should you use capital letters? Are semicolons involved somehow?

If you’ve ever tried to find out the answer to questions like these online, you’ll probably have seen that it can get surprisingly complicated. You could easily end up more confused than you were to begin with. But it really doesn’t have to be this difficult.

Watch the video to find out our recommended best practice for professional documents:

As Rob says in the video, how you should punctuate bullets comes down almost entirely to making style choices (then being consistent).

Pick a style
Some style guides will suggest that when bullets are fragments you should put a semicolon at the end of each one, write ‘and’ at the end of the next-to-last bullet, then have a full stop after the final one. This isn’t wrong – just another style (and there are many other styles). We simply prefer the clean look of minimalist punctuation.

Check the guidelines
If you work somewhere that has style guidelines on how to punctuate bullet points, do follow those. If not, give this way a try.

And you can download a reminder of our suggested style here.

This post is an extract from a lesson in our online-learning programme, Emphasis 360, which is designed to transform your writing step by step, in practical, bite-sized lessons. You can try it out for free here.

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