How should you punctuate bulleted lists

When you're using bulleted paragraphs, you don't have to worry about using special punctuation—-just punctuate normally.

However, when you're using bulleted lists, you may wonder whether to start with a capital letter and whether to put a period at the end. After all, some lists are only words or phrases.

There are two common methods: the traditional method and the contemporary method (which I learned from Dr. Ginny Redish).

The traditional method—still quite popular—simply keeps the punctuation the list would have if it were part of a normal paragraph. Here's a list that's part of a normal paragraph—it's not bulleted yet:

The order was late on April 15, late on April 16, and on time on April 17.

The traditional method would keep that same punctuation, pretending the list is still part of a regular sentence:

The order was:

The contemporary method—gaining popularity—stops the pretense that there's a sentence and gets rid of the commas, the period, and the word and:

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