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Capitalization for a bullet list

When using a list, like this:

  • first item
  • second item
  • third item

should the first word in each item be capitalized? I.e., is this better style:

  • First item
  • Second item
  • Third item

Does this depend on the content of the list, i.e. whether I use just keywords like in my example, or whole sentences?

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Style questions are for Writers.SE. Voting to migrate. –  Daniel Sep 22 '11 at 13:48
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marked as duplicate by simchona, Daniel, aedia λ, Marthaª, waiwai933 Sep 23 '11 at 7:06

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1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Yes, it depends on the content - and the context - of the list. In a way you have to kind of forget that the bullet points are there and decide whether the list is part of one big sentence or whether each point is a separate sentence. For example:

(all one sentence - lower case):

In my spare time I like to:

  • cut down trees
  • eat my lunch
  • go to the lavatory

(separate sentences - capital letters):

Some characteristics of a lumberjack I know:

  • He's ok
  • He sleeps all night and he works all day
  • On Wednesdays he goes shopping and has buttered scones for tea
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Sounds like a lumberjack I'd like to know! –  Alain Sep 22 '11 at 14:17
1  
+1 for the lumberjack joke! –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Sep 22 '11 at 14:20
    
+1, and wish I could +2 –  JeffSahol Sep 22 '11 at 18:46
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