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4.33 Lists

Point-form lists make it easier for the reader to understand how the elements are related. Grammar and syntax determine the internal capitalization and punctuation of the initial letters of items in lists. It is more important for lists to be logically understandable and syntactically consistent than to look alike.

If the lead-in to a list is syntactically related to the points that follow, as in this list,

  • do not capitalize the first words of items within the list, and
  • except for the bullets or dashes, punctuate as if the entire sentence was not in point form.

Items in lists are sometimes capitalized. This list illustrates one possible set of conditions:

  • It is made up of complete sentences, which do not depend on the lead-in sentence fragment and which end with a period.
  • It contains points that are more easily grasped separately than together.

Incomplete sentences or single words entered as points in lists are normally lower-cased:

Four issues are related to the economics of healthy housing:

  • affordability
  • adaptability
  • viability for the construction industry
  • marketability

Note that there is no period at the end of the list.

See also 7.70 Capitalization.