1

Which of the two examples below is the right way to punctuate the introductory sentence before a bulleted list where each list item is a complete sentence ending with a period?

Example 1

There are a few things to note about the integer 2.

  • It is the smallest prime number.
  • It is the smallest even number.
  • It is the only even prime number.

Example 2

There are a few things to note about the integer 2:

  • It is the smallest prime number.
  • It is the smallest even number.
  • It is the only even prime number.

Here are my questions:

  1. Should the introductory sentence end with a period or a colon?
  2. If both forms are correct, then which one is more popular?
  3. What do various style manuals say about this?
1

The Chicago Manual of Style (ed. 2017), section 6.130, says:

A vertical list is best introduced by a grammatically complete sentence, followed by a colon.

However, it does go on to say that not every use is correct. As a rule of thumb, the introduction to the list should be able to stand as a separate sentence on its own.

Nothing that I've read indicates that a period should ever be used, making me think that a colon is more common for introductory sentences.

"Grammar Girl" has a more thorough take on vertical lists here. It seems the Chicago Manual of Style is one of the few style guides that covers the topic in depth.

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