I'm currently considering to use a in line (in text) listing style, such as:

'Some things are quite good. (i) Thing A can do this and that, which is awesome because of this and that. (ii) Thing B can do, ... . (iv) Some people also say that this and that, therefore thing Z is great.'

I've got more important points already highlighted through bullets, therefore I don't want to use bullets again for this minor information, plus I want to logically link the single points through sentences, but still provide an easy way to pick out the key words quickly.

First question: I've seen this style in quite a few papers. Is it considered to be a "good" style, or are there any downsides to this approach? Should I not use this style? Does the reader get confused by this?

Second question: Shall the brackets and latin number be bold, only the number, or nothing?

Third question: Should I place the enumeration element right infront of the keyword, or at the beginning of the sentence containing the keyword?

  • If you have the luxury of being in a LaTeX-using research community, just use \begin{enumerate} and let the journal class file decide for you. Sep 23, 2013 at 8:34
  • 2
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about academia, it's about word processing.
    – 410 gone
    Sep 23, 2013 at 19:49
  • Agreed. If question read "What style should be used for journals in Discipline X or theses in discipline Y..." it might be a different issue.
    – Ben Norris
    Sep 24, 2013 at 1:25

3 Answers 3

  • If the numbers are never used, or if the technique is overused, then this can be considered bad style. I would not use it in the example above, for instance.
  • You can use whatever style you want. There is no reason that they are bold. Sometimes the leading parenthesis is dropped, sometimes both. It's best to consult the style guidelines for the relevant publishers.
  • Put the enumeration element in front of the sentence or phrase under consideration. Try it out, if you put it near the keyword, then you'll have spurious sentence elements in illogical positions.
  • Thanks, can you elaborate on what "spurious sentence elements in illogical positions" means? :-) Sep 18, 2013 at 11:31
  • If you put the (a) in front of the keyword, then you might end up with a sentence like this: "The most important things to remember are to put the enumerated element in (1) front of the key word and to highlight the enumerated element (2) in bold." Sep 18, 2013 at 13:16
  1. Yes it is a good/acceptable style. At least in the fields where I have looked the format is standard. in fact bullets or numbered lists should be used more sparingly and I think the following is a good guideline: use bullets/itemization when there is a lot of text going into each. 'Lot' in this case is a complete sentence or more. Use the format you mention when you need a word or partial sentence for each item.

  2. there are several ways to do this you can use 'i)' or '(i)' or (1)' or '(a)' etc. The choice may differ depending on what else you have in your paper. If you have figures that contains several panes, for example, a, b, c, d, you may decide to use Roman or regular numerals for your lists. if you have several lists you should avoid repeating the same item descriptor and, for example, use Roman numerals for one and Arabic for another.

  3. This depends on the context. you should place them where it is appropriate to read them. this means before each part of the construction. In your example you have divided everything into separate sentences but I think you should make a construct with semicolons instead: "There are three things of importance: (1) thing A; (2) thing B; and (3) Thing C."

  • 1
    Your point 3 is a total abuse of the semicolon.
    – StrongBad
    Sep 22, 2013 at 16:33

You probably want to check your sytle guide about seriation rules. The APA style manual defines rules for

  • sentence seriation without a hierarchy and elements not having internal commas,
  • sentence seriation with a hierarchy and elements not having internal commas,
  • sentence seriation without a hierarchy and elements having internal commas,
  • sentence seriation with a hierarchy and elements having internal commas,
  • paragraph seriation without a hierarchy, and
  • paragraph seriation with a hierarchy.

The previous sentence is a properly formatted example of sentence seriation without a hierarchy and the elements not having internal commas. If there were internal commas, then the comma at the end of each element would be replaced by a semicolon. Sentence seriation with a hierarchy follows the same rules except there is no line break between elements and the bullets are replaces with a letter within parentheses. Paragrpah seriation without a hierarchy follows the same rules as sentence seriation without a hierarchy except the element ending comma is replaced with a period and the list is "introduced" with a colon. Paragrpah seriation with a hierarchy follows the same rules as paragraph seriation without a hierarchy except the bullets are replaces with an Arabic numeral followed by a period.

Since each element of your example is a sentence, you would need to apply paragraph seriation and hence your formatting is not compliant with APA (and I believe MLA and Chicago).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .