Rules For Using Periods With Bullet Points

When it comes to formal documents and business presentations, presenting information with the help of bullets and lists is the foremost aspect for organization of content. Bullet points not only make the data reader-friendly but also these are a convenient option for summarizing details in short sentences.

Whether you want to draw audience’s attention to a specific point or you intend to present a sequence of steps, using bullet points is one of the sought after alternative in PowerPoint Presentations. However, intelligent usage of bullet points comes attached with certain essential aspects that need to be addressed; these are:

  • Do not over accessorize your content by using too many points. So, use the least possible number of points. Keep a check on sentence length as well.
  • Keep the tone of sentence and verb tense usage consistent in all the points so that a proper sync is maintained.
  • In the end comes the most important point that is going to be discussed in detail in this text, i.e. periods have to be used wisely.

Quite often, people get confused with the exact placement of period in a point. And, it is very important to understand that misplacement of period can largely alter the essence of the whole idea. According to experts, implementation of periods in bullet points also depends on grammatical constraints.

Apart from this, there are certain set rules also that need to be considered in detail. These are inclusive of:

  • In case of call to action statements, incomplete sentences and phrases, avoid using periods as it is not desired.
  • When using complete sentences or mix of 2-3 sentences, you can definitely use periods to highlight the completion of one idea.
  • For bullet points that complete an introductory segment, it is suggested to use periods. But, there is an exception to this convention! If the points look like an inventory or short phrases then periods are not required.
  • Within a particular list, either you can add periods or you don’t. There is no such thing as mixing both the ideas in one list because it is grammatically incorrect.

How to punctuate bullet points?

In business presentations, one of the most common question about “punctuation” involves how to punctuate bullet points. There are different approaches, and there are many guidelines out there (some corporations have their own guidelines). Do I need to use a period in a bullet point? Here is what we recommend:

  • Use a period after every bullet point that is a sentence. This means to add a full stop after every bullet point.
  • Use no punctuation after bullets that are not sentences. This includes bullet points like the image above where only single words are displayed on each line.
  • Do not mix the use and misuse of period. Given said that, if you start using periods (full stop) then use it for all the bullet points.

No matter how catchy your presentation is, but eventually, it’s of no use if the content is grammatically incorrect or error prone (even if it is a slight punctuation mark like periods). So, get through with the above stated rules for appropriately using periods with bullet points.

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