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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:33 am 
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The Programme of Study for Years 5 and 6 contains a statutory requirement that "Pupils should be taught to ... indicate grammatical and other features by ... punctuating bullet points consistently". Note that it does not say correctly, which I find curious. Is that because there are no rules?

I've attempted to locate some official guidance on what the 'correct' way to punctuating bullet points would be, but have found none.

Furthermore, http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/bullet-points says, "There are no fixed rules about how to use them, but here are some guidelines". The same site goes onto provide the following guidelines (amongst others):

Quote:
1. The text introducing the list of bullet points should end with a colon.
2. If the text that follows the bullet point is not a proper sentence, it doesn’t need to begin with a capital letter and it shouldn’t end with a full stop.
3. If the text following the bullet point IS a complete sentence, it should begin with a capital letter. A full stop at the end is technically required but is not absolutely essential.

Is there an official set of bullet point rules, which would be used to assess whether children have met this requirement?

Consider the sentence, "My favourite flavours of ice-cream are strawberry, chocolate and vanilla." It would be incorrect to place a colon after the word "are" in this sentence as a colon must be preceded by an independent clause. However, if I re-arranged this sentence into a bulleted list I'm required to include the colon, correct?

Quote:
My favourite flavours of ice-cream are:
• strawberry,
• chocolate and
• vanilla.

Is the above punctuated correctly? Or should I omit the comma, the "and" and the full-stop?

Quote:
My favourite flavours of ice-cream are:
• strawberry
• chocolate
• vanilla

The marking scheme for the new KS2 tests doesn't talk about bullets (as there were no questions on bullets), but does have examples of bulleted lists with the text. Based on what they do, the above should contain a final full-stop.

Quote:
Award 1 mark for a suitable possessive pronoun:
• mine
• yours
• his / hers
• ours
• theirs.

Also, they don't always introduce a bulleted list with a colon.

Quote:
Do not accept: responses using a possessive determiner and noun, e.g.
• my books
• his toys.

Surely there should be a colon after the "e.g."? Or would that argue that this would look clumsy?

Our DD has started to use colons to separate clauses in a sentence, and I know it's only a matter of time before she starts wanting to use them to introduce bulleted lists. I want to be able to explain the rules when she asks. Right now, I can't.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:58 am 
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I suggest you direct your question to Nick Gibb, Minister for Apostrophes and Adverbial Clauses (fronted). Though bulleted lists are not strictly in his job description, a man of his talent ought to be able to offer definitive advice.

You could also copy in the official opposition, Michael Rosen. And Nicky Morgan, who has a job somehow related to all this but I can't remember what.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:05 pm 
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Amber wrote:
I suggest you direct your question to Nick Gibb, Minister for Apostrophes and Adverbial Clauses (fronted). Though bulleted lists are not strictly in his job description, a man of his talent ought to be able to offer definitive advice.

You could also copy in the official opposition, Michael Rosen. And Nicky Morgan, who has a job somehow related to all this but I can't remember what.

:D

I think I'll take that to mean, "Perhaps the powers-that-be should have decided what the rules are before they mandated that our DC follow them."


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:48 pm 
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Location: East Kent
Goodheart wrote:
Amber wrote:
I suggest you direct your question to Nick Gibb, Minister for Apostrophes and Adverbial Clauses (fronted). Though bulleted lists are not strictly in his job description, a man of his talent ought to be able to offer definitive advice.

You could also copy in the official opposition, Michael Rosen. And Nicky Morgan, who has a job somehow related to all this but I can't remember what.

:D

I think I'll take that to mean, "Perhaps the powers-that-be should have decided what the rules are before they mandated that our DC follow them."


:lol: :lol:

Oh, how true!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:49 pm 
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I used to have a writing job and in every company I worked for the house style for bulleted lists was the same (partly because I was sometimes involved in establishing house style!): no punctuation at the end of a bullet point unless it contains more than one sentence. Certainly never a full stop at the end of the last bullet point; that looks horrid. I always think of bullets as being a separate and specialised method of laying out text, rather than a way of breaking up a sentence. But the trouble with bullets is that there is no universal rule; it depends on the editor/house style plus a bit of common sense so goodness knows how children are supposed to make a decision.

So I would say (sorry had to use hyphens instead of bullet points):

The following flavours are available:
- Chocolate
- Strawberry
- Vanilla

And I would also say:

Please note the following:

- Ice cream is usually available in strawberry, chocolate and vanilla flavours

- The most popular flavour is chocolate

- Sauces and other toppings are subject to an additional charge

But it wouldn't be incorrect to add a full stop at the end of each of those sentences as long as you are consistent: either all full stops or none, not a mixture.

Consistency is the key thing. Just think how messy it looks otherwise. Especially with that horrible final full stop, which just looks dreadful and adds nothing to the meaning of the words.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:56 pm 
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I read and write a fair number of technical reports, so end up writing or seeing bullet lists all the time.
I'd agree with Peridot.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:58 pm 
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Thanks Tinkers!

Sorry, forgot to say I would always introduce a bulleted list with a colon. In the example you quoted, goodheart, where the introductory sentence ends with an e.g. it would indeed look clumsy with a colon, so I personally would get round that problem by spelling out the abbreviation in full, saying:

Do not accept incorrect constructions. For example:
then the bulleted list of whatever they are


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:45 pm 
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Location: Warwickshire
The Guardian Style Guide is normally my authoritative guide in such things, but I have to agree with others here that I don't like full stops after each bullet point. Sadly I've found a point where the Guardian Style Guide and I disagree :(

You'll need to scroll down to 'Bullet points' to see its guidance:

http://www.theguardian.com/guardian-obs ... le-guide-b


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:54 pm 
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Totally agree with Peridot.With regards to full stops I agree - either use them or don't use them, but definitely not just the last bullet point.
(I can hear DD1 saying "That is not aesthetic".)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:31 pm 
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Location: Reading
Well I spoke too soon. :roll:
I've been looking at a document today as I've got to write a similar one for the project I'm working on.
Every single bullet list is done differently.
Some have full stops after each line.
Some have no full stops.
Some have some lines with full stops and some without.
Some have lines with semi colons (in the middle of the list) and the rest with nothing.
Some have semi colons after every line except the last one, which had a full stop.
One even has nested bullet lists.

This is what you get when engineers write documents, then other engineers edit and reissue.
:lol:


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