Biting the bullet – how to write the perfect list

10/10/2017
Written by Denny

We love lists. Whether we’re scrawling ingredients on the back of an envelope or typing reminders into our smartphones, there’s something undeniably satisfying about stacking words on top of each other. It’s a writing convention that stretches far back into history; you only need to skim through the brilliant book Lists of Note to see some intriguing examples – from Johnny Cash’s charming to-do list to Isaac Newton’s List of Sins.

But as well as the obvious benefits for the list-maker, a vertical arrangement of words and phrases is also of value to any reader. Research has shown that the spatial organisation of lists directly appeals to the way our brain processes information. It’s no surprise, therefore, that so-called listicles continue to thrive in our fast-paced, speed-reading age.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a list (naturally) of top tips for writing content in bullet-point format (see below).

Clarity

The whole point of presenting your text in a list is to make it easier for your reader. We recommend:

Punctuation

How you punctuate your bullet points will depend on the style guide that you follow. What’s important is that you select a style and stick to it.

At Accuracy Matters we use a capital letter and a full stop when the bullet point text is a complete sentence.

E.g.

When the bullet point continues on from a stem statement, we use lower case for the first letter and put a full stop at the end of the last bullet point.

E.g.

Clients come to us because they know they can rely on our

For a discussion of other styles, click here.

Consistency

Your punctuation may be on point, but what about your grammar? When writing a list of bullet points, you need to make sure you follow a consistent sentence structure.

Correct:

If you’re not careful, you run the risk of

Incorrect:

If you’re not careful, you run the risk of

Formatting 

Bullet points act as a visual aid for your reader, so make sure they look good.

So, there you are. A few little (bullet) pointers that might just help you when writing your next presentation...or even your present list to Santa.