Middlebury

 

Vertical Lists

When possible, introduce the list with a complete grammatical sentence followed by a colon.

In general: Try to use parallel syntax (sentences, fragments, questions) with each item, which will make the list orderly and more understandable. Chicago Manual of Style Online cautions that “parallel doesn’t mean identical. If your items are complex, it may not be practical to match them word for word with parallel parts of speech.”

Styling Vertical Lists

Vertical lists can by styled in many ways, as unmarked lists, as numbered or bulleted lists, in paragraph style with internal punctuation, as a sentence, and with subdivided items.

Unmarked list:

We hope you will bring these items to our open house:

lawnmower
snow blower
leaf rake
new plantings for along driveway

 

Numbered list: (Items may be capitalized or lowercased.)

We hope you will bring these items to our open house:

1. Lawnmower
2. Snow blower
3. Leaf rake
4. New plantings for along driveway

 

Paragraph style:

When you come to our open house, we hope you will consider these facts: (1) Since the house is big, we will need some way to manage the large amount of trash that will be generated. (2) Our building has been in disrepair for several years. (3) The previous owner absconded with our deposit, and (4) we are not happy with its overall appearance.

 

Sentence style: (The first element may be capped or lowercased.)

We hope you will bring these items to our open house:

1. several leaf rakes to  allow for easy removal of old compost,
2. one light wheelbarrow that is easy to push,
3. some good music to work to, and
4. a sense of play, so that you can stay all day.

We hope you will bring these items to our open house:

• Several leaf rakes to allow for easy removal of old compost,
• One light wheelbarrow that is easy to push,
• Some good music to work to, and
• A sense of play, so that you can stay all day.

 

Subdivided list:

We hope you will bring these items to our open house:

1. Leaf items

  • Rakes
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Leaf bags

2. Food items

  • Beer
  • Hot dogs
  • Ice

3. Musical items

  • Instruments
  • iPods
  • Loud speakers

Use of periods in vertical lists:

In general, follow the examples above. When a list contains a combination of sentence fragments and full sentences, try to revise so they are all similar. If that is not possible, use periods after all items for visual consistency.