How do I create a vertical list in which each item includes a quoted fragment and a complete sentence?

Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.

Follow the guidelines on how to create a vertical list. Since the quotes are fragments, you may lowercase them. Either a colon or a period may follow each quote. Use sentence capitalization and punctuation for complete sentences in the list items. Above all, be consistent: if one item ends with a complete sentence, ensure that all of them do.

Tracy K. Smith’s poem “Sci-Fi” offers a vision of an anodyne future:

  • “no edges, but only curves”: This world has been babyproofed. 
  • “[c]lean lines pointing only forward”: Smith’s future has been meticulously arranged to discourage reflection on the past. 
  • “with its hard spine & dog-eared / Corners”: History arrives on the scene in stanza 2 in the form of a worn-out book, soon to be consigned to the cosmic dustbin.

Work Cited

Smith, Tracy K. “Sci-Fi.” Poetry Foundation, 2019,