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The table has a mix of fragments and full sentences. I'm concerned that if I have full stops after the sentences and none after the fragments it will look inconsistent to the reader.

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can you please provide a little more information about the content? – camelbrush Mar 24 '13 at 23:11
Examples, and the purpose of the table, would certainly help. – St John of the Cross Mar 24 '13 at 23:12
These are some of the entries from the table: 'Gas cleaning may be required.' (sentence) 'Most expensive to install' (fragment) 'Energy offsets to reduce production costs' (fragment) 'Cost of covering ponds may be prohibitive.' (sentence). – Lil144 Mar 24 '13 at 23:45
Why not leave the full stop off all of them? – St John of the Cross Mar 24 '13 at 23:56
Thank you. I had thought of this option but am concerned about having sentences without full stops. Thought there may be some advice in a style manual about the conventions for this in tables. – Lil144 Mar 25 '13 at 0:23

Your instincts are correct.

In bulleted lists, as in tables and spreadsheets, the word is consistency. Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule - it is a stylistic choice.

That said, most writers do not put full stops at the end of each list item unless each and every item is a full sentence. Even if they are full sentences, some style manuals dictate no full stops anyway.

As yours are not all full sentences, leave out the full stops on all items.

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The actual content and design you are seeking will be the deciding most factor in implementing a solution. However, you may consider:

  1. Using a semicolon. This maintains the connection between the clauses while ensuring a pause between the two ideas. E.g:

    It is nearly half past five; we cannot reach town before dark.

  2. Using a coordinating conjunction with a comma. E.g:

    It is nearly half past five, so we cannot reach town before dark.

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@Melinda, [bold]Gas cleaning may be required.[bold].[line break] Most expensive to install | Energy offsets to reduce production costs | Cost of covering ponds may be prohibitive. – Raghav Mar 24 '13 at 23:54
Thanks Raghav but the second and third are still fragments (use non-finite verbs). I opted for no stops on all behind cover of 'special use in tables'. – Lil144 Mar 25 '13 at 6:21

Consistency is the important thing. After that it is a matter of choice. All full stops or no full stops at all, even after full sentences. Eli Sluszny

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I don't think omitting a full stop after a full sentence is a good option, no matter how consistent. – stevenvh May 17 '15 at 15:07
Welcome to ELU :-). This is primarily an opinion-based post and it is more suited to be a comment than an answer. It is desirable to include references in your answer, whenever that is possible. – Lucky May 17 '15 at 15:35

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