Editorial style guide - B

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Hyphenated when combined with another word to form an adjective:

work-based study


Try to avoid. In marketing copy, use en-dashes to indicate parentheses.

bullet points

Lists are usually introduced with a brief sentence or clause. If the items in your list flow naturally from this sentence, there is no need to use a colon.

The open day programme includes

  • visits to academic departments
  • talks
  • accommodation visits
  • self-guided tours
  • videos

If the items on your list can't be made to flow naturally from an introduction, use a colon.

The urban regeneration research cluster is principally concerned with three areas:

  • Housing as a medium for the physical and social regeneration of urban areas.
  • The role of property in urban regeneration.
  • Urban and regional policy, local governance and urban regeneration.

As the first and second examples illustrate, a list that completes or flows from an introduction doesn't need full stops after each point. If your points are longer you can use internal punctuation.

The third example illustrates that when points are self-contained sentences you should begin each point with an initial capital and end with a full stop.

Too many bullets

Bullet points are most effective at a maximum one line of text per point. In print, a list of bullet points running unbroken down a whole page is uninviting.