Vertical Lists

Use vertical lists for lists that are long or contain items on several levels.

Use vertical lists for quick-reference items or for visual prominence.

Use numbers when items on a list follow a specific order.

Use bullets as visual markers for each item.

If the introductory statement is a complete grammatical sentence, end it with a colon. List items do not begin with capital letters and do not carry closing punctuation unless they are complete sentences.

  • Example: Include the following documents in your application:
    • completed application
    • personal essay
    • three letters of recommendation

If the introductory statement is not a complete sentence, use the punctuation mark that's appropriate for the context (comma, semicolon, dash, or nothing). List items do not start with capital letters and have no closing punctuation.

  • Example: The final report outlined the company’s
    • increased fundraising efforts
    • stabilized employee retention
    • increased recruitment efforts

Numbered Lists

Numbered items begin with a capital letter.

Do not use closing punctuation unless the item is a complete sentence.


Separate items in a series with a comma. Do not use a comma before the conjunction.

  • Example: The students came from California, Colorado, Maryland and Nebraska.

If the series contains lengthy elements or elements that require separation with a comma, use semicolons to avoid confusion. Use a semicolon before the conjunction in a series.

  • Example: Faculty conduct research in molecular and cellular pathology and toxicology; drug delivery systems; protein structure and delivery; cancer, heart, lung and blood diseases; and alcohol and drug abuse.