When writing a list of potentially incomplete sentences, how should I punctuate each item?

Daycare Admission Rules:

  1. No older than 5 years
  2. No younger than 1 year
  3. No purple Hair

Do I end each with a period, a question mark (if interrogative), or nothing?

  • In making a bulleted list, obviously sentence structure is likely to be disrupted (note your capitalisation and colon, and numbers/bullets). The things to aim for are clarity, conciseness and reasonable phrasing. Here, I'd be more worried that omitting the 'Children must not' (be older than ... / be younger ... / have purple hair) sounds incomplete, than about the 'correctness' of adding periods (I wouldn't bother). Apr 14, 2014 at 19:41

2 Answers 2


No. Your example is factual and not fiction:

Sentences Left Incomplete

The fact that a sentence has been broken off, the remainder being left to the reader's imagination, is commonly marked by a double dash or suspension dots. This usage is infrequent in factual writing, though not uncommon in fiction. —American punctuation by Summey, George


Punctuating Bullet Points

In business writing courses, the most common question about punctuation involves how to punctuate bullet points. It's important, since these days we write as many bullet points as paragraphs.

Let me tell you how I punctuate them, and then I will touch on other ways recommended by prestigious style manuals.

Here is what I recommend:

  • Use a period (full stop) after every bullet point that is a sentence (as these bullets do).
  • Use a period after every bullet point that completes the introductory stem.
  • Use no punctuation after bullets that are not sentences and do not complete the stem.
  • Use all sentences or all fragments, not a mixture.
  • This is describing ellipses not bullet point format. Apr 14, 2014 at 19:32

You don't need punctuation at the end of a bullet point if the bullet points themselves are sentence fragments, rather than full sentences.

The problem is, the first two entries in your examples are not grammatically appropriate sentence fragments. If you put up a sign saying "No older than 5 years," the punctuation is not going to be what makes people see the sign as ungrammatical. You need to rephrase that somehow: "No children over five" or "Children 4 and younger only" or even, at a pinch, "4 and under only".

Also, do not capitalize "Hair."

  • I threw together a quick list without regard to the list's correctness other than how it pertained to the question, but you are right. Apr 15, 2014 at 17:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.