I was reading an article on Laptop Display, and I stumbled upon this snippet. Here, periods are used to separate items of a list, and I have never seen such usage. Is this actually allowed grammatically? Following is the snippet:

Contrast. Screen Resolution. Black level. Gamut. Uniformity. These words can seem like arcane scrawl to the initiated, but they’re actually not difficult to grasp.

  • 1
    It works in that context.
    – Lawrence
    Jan 21, 2019 at 6:10
  • 1
    Each of those is a sentence in its own right, so comes with a terminal period. Look at it again. Let me know if you still need help.
    – Kris
    Jan 21, 2019 at 8:21
  • @Lawrence Why does it?
    – Kris
    Jan 21, 2019 at 8:21
  • It is technically ungrammatical. Those fragments can't really be considered elided sentences in any normal sense of the word. At best, the whole thing is a single fragmented sentence. However, it's stylistically acceptable. Jan 21, 2019 at 9:10
  • @Kris I'm not sure, but I think it works as a set of 'headings' of sorts. The words don't work as a sentence if strung together without full-stops. They would also just 'hang in the air' if separated by commas or are otherwise treated as a list. I suppose you could use a dash or colon to connect them to these words, like so: "Contrast, screen resolution, ..., uniformity - these words can seem ...".
    – Lawrence
    Jan 21, 2019 at 9:56

3 Answers 3


If I'm going to make a list I'll put all the items one below the other and not use any punctuation at all. If it's a short list like "red, green, yellow and blue", I'll use commas. If I have to separate items like movie titles, I'll put semicolons. But I can't see anything wrong with separating items with full stops. The main thing is to keep it clear for the reader what you're listing. "Red, white and yellow." "Now, Voyager; Citizen Cane; High Noon, and many other films." (You don't confuse the reader, making them think that "Now" and "Voyager" were two different movies.) Here's what I do:

1 Don't use nuthin'. No commas, semicolons or stops in a vertical list

2 Use commas in a horizontal list

3 Use semicolons in a horizontal list

4 Use full stops (periods) in a horizontal list

5 Do what YOU think is the best to make your presentation as clear as possible

Here's a list. No punctuation marks. Isn't this clear and nice and readable?


I don't think it is grammatically correct, and it is technically more proper to use commas, but as @Lawrence said in the comments, it does work in this context.

  • -1 See my comment at OP.
    – Kris
    Jan 21, 2019 at 8:21
  • It is gramatically incorrect. See getitwriteonline.com/articles/vertical-lists, which says that "Use a period after the last item in the list." Jan 21, 2019 at 18:16
  • It's not a list per se so the reference is not relevant. Also, to use a period after the last list item is not mandatory, and most times detested by writers. Your source may not be authentic.
    – Kris
    Jan 22, 2019 at 6:34
  • punctuation has naught to do with grammar Nov 18, 2019 at 1:44
  • @Kris It is not a sentence because it does not have a verb. Nov 19, 2019 at 3:07

These are the caption-like words written for marketing purposes, where grammar rudiments are compromised. Haven't we seen proper nouns starting in lower case, nouns being coined anew for products, etc. Tomorrow, when I write a book on the cover of which if I write, Learn the uses of "BE. BEING. BEING.", it is likely to be accepted by potential customers :)

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