I have read about the rules for capitalization of colons and the varying rules depending on region and culture. So I decided to use the supposedly British grammar and only capitalize nouns or acronyms after a colon. But what about lists with colons as separators between list item and its description?

  • Taking a shower: You should do this daily.
  • Eating food: Eat three hearty meals a day
  • Going to bed: After a hard day...

Above is the list style I'm referring to. I intend to use it in a scientific Paper where I describe a couple of things. Using a lower-case letter after the semicolon looks wrong. Capitalizing the first letter on the other hand breaks the consistency with the remainder of the text where everything is lower-case, except for proper nouns. Any suggestions?

  • 1
    The advice given by two of the leading style guides, The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) and Associated Press (AP) can be seen here link.
    – BillJ
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 17:17

1 Answer 1


Most scientific organizations have a style guide. The American Medical Association has one, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers has one, the Council of Science Editors has one, most scientific journals have one or recommend the use of a particular one. There is no right or wrong here--it is a matter of choice, but that choice is often dictated by the field it covers or the publication that it will appear in.

  • You are right. I'll check it out and see if I can find any information there!
    – Potaito
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 15:50

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