Parallelism in bullet lists

May 2019: Improve the readability of your bullet lists

2019.05.14 | CKR/LVS

In short, parallelism in writing ensures uniformity and consistency across a text. Thus, writing parallel bullet lists simply means that each item in the list has the same structure, making the text flow better and enabling the reader to obtain an overview of the message content. To be parallel, each item in the list might start with a verb, use the same verb tense and use the same sentence type (e.g. in the form of questions).


INCORRECT example:

We use bullet lists:

  • to provide the reader with a better overview.
  • In order to create sentence structure.
  • a bullet list can also be used to highlight the most important information.
CORRECT example:  

We use bullet lists:

  • to provide the reader with a better overview
  • to create sentence structure
  • to highlight the most important information. 
  CORRECT example:

When writing a correct and clear bullet list, you are not to:

  • add commas between each bullet item
  • put a full stop after each item unless it is a complete sentence
  • write ’and’ or ’or’ between the last two items.

Language Services, Staff