Microsoft Word grammar correction queries (niche)

When I write a list with bullet points, I usually:

  • write the first bullet point;
  • use a semicolon at the end of each line;
  • and then finish with a full stop.

Microsoft Word keeps blue-lining me. Am I in the right or in the wrong?

I’m sure there are other things that MS Word tries to correct, too.

I wouldn’t use a semicolon at the end of a bullet point, don’t think there’s much in the way of official standards when it comes to bullet points though, they’re a typographical thing rather than a grammatical one so it’s a matter of style. Doesn’t seem necessary to use any punctuation there though, surely the bullet point itself acts as the break, would you use a comma there?

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Just checked the Guardian style guide, they use a full stop at the end of each point. BBC style is no punctuation to end.

I’m open to change, but I do think that the bullet points look a bit naked without something at the end.

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For my money the key thing with bullet points is consistency : if you’re capitalising one bullet do them all etc.

For the terminal punctuation I think it’s just a matter of personal /house style but I would be led by what preceded the bullets, if it’s a subordinate clause or something (“there are several things to bear in mind : begins bullet points”)

4 Likes

The BBC is quite specific in its examples:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/en/articles/art20130702112133551

Big fan of ; after each point… and no full stop after the final one

Sexy naked bullet points

If you’re delineating them with semicolons why not just write a normal inline list.

Yeah says what I was fumbling towards much more clearly

If the items in a bullet point list are complete sentences in themselves, then each should start with a capital letter, and in general end with no punctuation: eg:

There is more than one way to cook potatoes.

  • Y ou can roast them in the oven
  • You can mash them with milk and butter
  • You can fry them in a pan

If the items are not complete sentences, they should start with a lower case letter, and again omit punctuation at the end: eg:

If you want to cook potatoes, you can

  • roast them in the oven
  • mash them with milk and butter
  • fry them in a pan

Just Googled it. Apparently I’m using the Chicago style guide, which is common in legal writing but nowhere else.

https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/qanda/data/faq/topics/VerticalListsBullets.html

image

Chicago thinks cheddar and chocolate is a normal flavour combination for popcorn, they’re not to be trusted (alright, it’s quite nice)