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Using Bullet Points in List Articles
By Joan Whetzel
List articles are easy to write they consist of a set of steps (as in how-to articles) or a simple list of items, examples or ways to do things. List articles are easy to read, which makes them a great way to impart information to your readers, not only in articles but in letters, memos and emails as well. There are two ways to make list articles one is the numbered list the other involves the use of bullet points.
List Articles with Bullet Points
How many times have you picked up a magazine off the rack to read about “15 Ways to Organize your Kitchen”? Were the “15 ways” listed in bullet point format? Bullet points, which are visually appealing, make it easier for readers to find the information they are looking for quickly. List articles give us a list of ways to do things, of things to accomplish, of ideas, of things to avoid. There are so many ways to use the list article format, the ideas are virtually limitless. Small lists (3 to 5) are great because they let readers know there are only a few steps needed to accomplish their goal. Long lists (101 ways to annoy your neighbors) gives readers lots of choices when it comes to accomplishing a task.
Bullets Vs. Numbers
Yes, there is a difference between numbering and bullet points when it comes to list. Numbering a list implies that things should be done or read in a specific order. Using numbers or letters (1-2-3, a-b-c) are used frequently used in how-to articles, recipes, business letters, and science experiments to name a few, applications where the order is important. Bullet point lists don’t have an order in which they should be read or accomplished. These lists are simply a group of related item that don’t fall into sequential order or where the points share equal importance.
Types of Bullet Points
Bullet points can be anything from a simple point or dot to a square, open circle, squiggle, asterisk, diamonds, dash, arrow, or check mark. They are used to visually display a speakers points on PowerPoint slides as well as in list articles. Word for Windows and other word processing programs usually have a whole group of bullet point choices to use.
Creating the Bullet Point List Article
When writing a list article:
- always begin with an introduction.
- organize the items for your list in a way that makes sense.
- present the points make up a bullet pointed list.
- add further explanation for each point if necessary.
- finish with a concluding point, if you feel the article needs one to wrap it up.
The above list could technically be created as a numbered list because it lists the order in which the article will appear. But since there are writers who don’t write their article in the order in which they appear, the list can also be written as shown – bullet style. By the way, the bulleted list can also be used in Power Point displays and term papers or school essays.
Jones, Dee. Yahoo Voices. How to Write List Articles Fast.
Lay, Kathryn. The Dabbling Mum. How to Write List Articles.
Russell, Wendy. About.com. Definition of Bullet.
Hibbard, Catherine S. Sales Vantage. Using Bullet Points and Lists.