Punctuation For Beginners: All About The Bullet Point

Welcome to the tenth post in the series: Punctuation For Beginners.

Punctuation is the name for the marks we use in writing. Punctuation marks are tools that have set functions. We use them to give a sentence meaning and rhythm.

(Look out for the punctuation posts every Tuesday. Sign up for our newsletter to get our Daily Writing Links, and you won’t miss out.)

Today, I will be writing about bullet point.

What are bullet points?

Bullet points are punctuation marks used to indicate a list of items.

Definition from Oxford: ‘Bullet points are used to draw attention to important information within a document so that a reader can identify the key issues and facts quickly.’

Using bullet points

1.  You introduce a list of bullet points with a colon.

We need to discuss:

  • How we formatted the initial brief.
  • How we calculated the outcomes.
  • What are our future plans will be.

2.  If the points are not proper sentences, you do not need to begin with a capital letter, nor end with a full stop.


We cover:

  • email correspondence and email etiquette
  • writing reports and proposals
  • storytelling for business

3.  Begin each point with the same part of speech and try to keep them to a similar length. 


He wants to make a difference with:

  • singing classes for underprivileged children
  • dancing classes for his own students
  • acting classes for adults

4.  Limit the number of bullet points.

If you are going to list more than four of five points, we suggest that you use a numbered list instead. It is difficult to talk about the ‘seventh bullet point’ in a list without everybody having to count their way down the list to catch up with you.

The rules

There are no fixed rules for using bullet points. The best way to deal with them is by being consistent in your formatting.  Include the way you want them to be used in your style guide. [Suggested reading: What Is A Style Guide And Why Do I Need One?]

Learn how to write for business. Join us for The Plain Language Programme

 by Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. Punctuation For Beginners: All About The Ellipsis
  2. Punctuation For Beginners: All About Inverted Commas
  3. Punctuation For Beginners: All About Brackets
  4. Punctuation For Beginners: All About Hyphens & Em Dashes
  5. Punctuation For Beginners: All About Colons & Semicolons

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