I have no objection to using a bullet list, but to save space I'd like to make the list inline. I know it's not strictly correct grammar, but I know with numbered lists like:

A good article is made up of three things:

  1. An appropriate title
  2. Interesting body text
  3. Humour

they can be written thusly (excuse the fact that the list easily works without numbers; it's just an example):

A good article is made up of three things: 1) an appropriate title, 2) interesting body text and 3) humour.

How could you do the same for a bullet list? The particular instance comes from a textbook. I want to repeat the bullet points, but in "paragraph" form, while it still being clear that it is a list and not a case of listing (i.e. semantic patterning).

Adjacency pairs create a recognisable structural pattern. They:

  • follow one another
  • are produced by different speakers
  • have a logical connection
  • conform to a pattern
  • ... They follow one another, they are produced by different speakers, they have a logical connection, and they conform to a pattern.
    – Jim
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 6:35
  • @Jim That would be the obvious approach, but I'm trying to do it so that the fact that it is a bullet list is apparent. e.g. () item, () item, etc.
    – Dog Lover
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 7:47
  • 1
    I would typically use semicolons for this. Is that not bullet-ish enough for what you mean? Have you tried just using bullets in the text, maybe playing around with capitalization and end punctuation, to see if there's an effect you like?
    – 1006a
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 8:21
  • @1006a Yes I have. For the moment I have it as an actual bullet list, but I'm genuinely curious as to how an inline bullet list would be formatted (like inline numbers: 1) item, 2) item and 3) item).
    – Dog Lover
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 8:29
  • 1
    If you're strictly looking for space saving, a two-column bullet list may work. This requires (very) short items, ideal an even number of items that are maximum just half a linewidth. (previous comments expanded into an answer)
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 8:41

1 Answer 1


(This is based on my comments, one of which followed on from 1006a's comment).

I sometimes do this. I introduce the list with a colon; separate the items with a semicolon; quite possibly start the final item with "and", which is presumably an Oxford semicolon; and terminate the list with a full stop. It's not as clear as it might be, and it's often better to reformulate such inline lists as real flowing text -- or enumerate them, or stick with a bullet list.

Another approach is useful if you want to expand on each item -- emphasis. Heree's an example based on the quote in the question, with some nonsense added: "Adjacency pairs create a recognisable structural pattern. They: follow one another, forming a sequence; are produced by different speakers who aren't the same; have a logical connection which connects them; conform to a pattern but not a knitting pattern." I chose to highlight the keywords rather than the whole item from the original quote, that's a judgement call. Making the call the way I did makes it slightly easier to separate the emphasised text. You need some normal text in between otherwise you just get a wall of italics which is no better than a wall of upright type. I've deliberatly buried the example in this paragraph, to show the limitations of this approach. For longer descriptions of each item, I have been known to construct a short paragraph per point, starting with the key aspect in italics. That's only really suited to quite long form writing.


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