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A Bullet List Can Save Time!

Do you ever find yourself writing a report with a lot of tiresome repetition?

Jones said she came home from work at 5:25 pm. Jones said she noticed the back door was open. Jones said she was frightened. Jones said she called 911. Jones said she then went to a neighbor’s house to wait for police to arrive. Jones said she didn’t notice any other suspicious activity at her home.  REPETITIOUS

A bullet list can be a great timesaver. Notice you don’t try to write your whole report in list format! Use it only as needed, to save time:

I arrived at about 6:10 PM and talked to Jones. She was watching for me from a neighbor’s house. While waiting for her, I noticed that her front door was open.

Jones told me:

  • she came home from work at 5:25 pm
  • she noticed the back door was open
  • she was frightened and called 911
  • he then went to a neighbor’s house to wait for police to arrive
  • he didn’t notice any other suspicious activity at her home

Still puzzled about lists? Here are two things to think about. First, you’ve probably been writing lists all your life!

Second, it’s common practice to write a letter, a report, or any other task and include a list. Suppose a young couple has a new baby. They’re planning to visit some friends for a weekend. The friend asked what supplies to have on hand. The couple could write a letter – as usual – about how much they’re looking forward to the visit – and include a list of needed items. (For an introduction to lists, click here; to listen to a podcast about lists, click here.)

This practice activity will help you become proficient with timesaving lists.

Instructions: Rewrite the facts below in bullets. Scroll down for suggested answers.

1.  Patterson noticed many things were wrong when she entered her bedroom. Dresser drawers were overturned and emptied on the floor. The lock on her jewelry box was broken. The jewelry box was emptied on her bed. Her favorite gold necklace was missing. A platinum diamond ring was missing.

2.  After talking to the bartender, I entered a private room in the back. I saw a man and woman were screaming at each other. Although a little girl was kicking the man’s legs, he paid no attention to her. While all this was going on, an older woman was picking up shards of glass from the floor.

3.  Baxter said he’d left his wallet on the front seat while he ran into the McDonald’s to use the bathroom. His friend Cunningham was sitting in the passenger seat. When Baxter returned to his car, both Cunningham and the wallet were gone.

ANSWERS

Note: These are suggestions only. Answers may vary.

1.  When Patterson entered her bedroom, she noticed the following:

  • Dresser drawers were overturned and emptied on the floor
  • The lock on her jewelry box was open
  • The jewelry box was emptied on her bed
  • A gold necklace and a platinum diamond ring were missing

2.  After talking to the bartender, I entered a private room in the back and saw:

  • a man and woman screaming at each other
  • a little girl kicking the man’s legs
  • an older woman picking up shards of glass from the floor

3.  Baxter told me:

  • He ran into the McDonald’s to use the bathroom
  • He left his wallet on the front seat
  • His friend Cunningham was in the passenger seat
  • A few minutes later he returned to his car
  • Both Cunningham and the wallet were gone

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