Everyone loves a vertical list. They\u2019re easy to read. They look good. Why wouldn\u2019t you want to add a list to your work? The tricky thing is punctuation. Do you need a colon to introduce a list? Should each point start with a capital letter and end with a full stop? So many choices to make!\nTo help, we've prepared a guide to punctuating and capitalising bullet points.\n\nIntroducing a List: Do You Need a Colon?\nWhen a vertical list follows a full sentence, introduce it with a colon.\nThere are two main methods available:\n\n\n \t\n\n \tQualitative interviews with key staff members.\n \tQuantitative surveys involving all stakeholders.\n\n\n\nYou can also use a colon after a partial sentence.\nAvailable methods include:\n\n\n \t\n\n \tQualitative interviews with key staff members.\n \tQuantitative surveys involving all stakeholders.\n\n\n\nHowever, you can omit the colon when a list follows a partial sentence.\nAvailable methods include\n\n\n \t\n\n \tQualitative interviews with key staff members.\n \tQuantitative surveys involving all stakeholders.\n\n\n\nThis is ultimately a matter of stylistic preference. But if you are using a style guide, you may want to check it for guidance on which style to use.\n\nPunctuating Bullet Points: Do You Need Full Stops?\nWe\u2019re often asked whether you need a full stop at the end of each entry in a list. And, as a guideline, we\u2019d suggest punctuating bullet points as follows:\n\n\n \tWhen listing full sentences, use a full stop for each entry (like here).\n \tFor lists with longer sentence fragments, full stops are optional.\n \tFor a mix of fragments and full sentences, use a full stop at the end of each entry (just as you would for a list of full sentences).\n \tWhen listing single words or short phrases, there\u2019s no need for a full stop.\n\nHowever, this again comes down to preference and your chosen style guide. The key thing is applying a clear and consistent punctuation style to all lists.\n\nSemicolons and Commas in Lists\nAlthough a little old-fashioned, some people like to use semicolons or commas in lists. This is usually done when each list entry finishes an introductory phrase, as shown below:\nOver the weekend, I have\n\n\n \t\n\n \tTaken the dog for a walk by the river;\n \tAttended a dance class with Yvonne; and\n \tMade a spaghetti carbonara.\n\n\n\nThe idea is that the list reads like a single sentence, with semicolons separating each point, a conjunction just before the final entry, and a full stop at the end.\nWe could also write this list with commas instead of semicolons.\nOver the weekend, I have\n\n\n \t\n\n \tTaken the dog for a walk by the river,\n \tAttended a dance class with Yvonne, and\n \tMade a spaghetti carbonara.\n\n\n\nThese are perfectly acceptable, and some style guides suggest writing lists like this. However, most people now leave out the extra punctuation.\n\nCapitalising Bullet Points\nFinally, should you capitalise the first letter of each entry in a vertical list? And if so, when? This is another case where there are no hard rules! If you have a list of full sentences \u2013 or a list with a mix of full sentences and fragments \u2013 we suggest capitalising the first letter in each item.\nActivities for this weekend:\n\n\n \t\n\n \tHowl at the moon on the strike of midnight.\n \tTake grandmother for lunch.\n \tDance on the graves of my enemies.\n \tIntrospective sitting and drinking.\n\n\n\nFor lists of fragments, short phrases, or words, capitalisation is optional:\n\n\n\nMy favourite fruits include:\n\n\n \toranges\n \tapples\n \tbananas\n \tdragon fruit\n\n\n\nMy favourite fruits include:\n\n\n \tOranges\n \tApples\n \tBananas\n \tDragon fruit\n\n\n\n\n\nAs with the other optional punctuation above, though, make sure to use a consistent capitalisation style throughout your writing. And if you\u2019d like any more help with the punctuation and capitalisation of lists in a document, don\u2019t forget we have proofreaders available 24\/7!