Numbered Lists In An Essay

Numbered Lists In An Essay

There is such diversity in academic writing and literature. To efficiently structure your paper, there are things to learn in completion before you can handle anything else.

First, you are to comprehend the instructions of your instructors and know what they intend you to use for your essay. Understanding the prompt for your essay, and the format that should be used will determine how to set the tone and flow of the composition is crucial. Always inquire whenever you’re unsure of what to do. In this way, they will clarify how you should include numbered lists and for what purposes.

Secondly, relearn about the formats chosen by your instructors. This will help you assess whether you’re capable of writing within its demands. Each style makes use of different methods for citations, listings, and inclusion of all kinds of illustrations.

Ways to List Things in an Essay

  1. Bulleted Lists

Bulleted lists help organize texts and project ideas without the need for any sequence of events or order of ideas. Maintain the right style throughout. Statements placed after the bullet should begin with capital letters and should be finished with just the proper punctuation. For lists in chronological order, bulleted lists aren’t highly recommended formats.

Psychologists and experts in the social sciences utilize the APA style in their publications. These APA lists are exceptionally efficient in establishing concepts and are structured quite differently depending on the type of information relayed.

After examining your text and ensuring that your instructors don’t forbid bullet points, find the most excellent way of establishing the facts on your subject matter. Ask yourself whether an MLA numbered list or any other APA list would better highlight your information. If the points of your topic contain a particular sequence in which they must be presented, then find a way on how to list things in an essay, especially the MLA numbered list. If there’s no particular chronological order, then other ways of how to list things in an essay would include the bulleted list. Lists that aren’t lengthy need not be structured as vertical lists but rather as their distinct paragraphs or under their titled sections. However, hands down, the bulleted list remains the best options for very detailed information.

Indentation of bullet points at least one inch away from the left margin is a great formatting style that is universally acknowledged. Efficient lists include double spaces and precise quotations from their sources.

Before introducing a sentence, create a concise topic sentence that establishes your motives and then includes the items in your list in a systematic manner that relates to that statement.

  1. Numbered Lists

They are most precious for describing a sequence of events, and an ordered arrangement of ideas. The structure to follow whenever you’re inscribing an APA format list is to state with numerals followed by a full stop. The next appropriate thing to do is to start your listed item with a capital letter after space from the period.

Psychologists and experts in the social sciences utilize the APA style in their publications. These APA lists are exceptionally efficient in establishing concepts and are structured quite differently depending on the type of information relayed.

There exist many methods of itemizing things like statements. The first form of these methods is to inscribe the number within the parentheses: Here is an example:

The earth is 40 billion years old, and these are the evidence for it: (1) this is the first evidence, (2) this is the second evidence, and (3) this is the third evidence.

Pay attention to how the numbers are inside the parentheses, and it might be unwise to use just one bracket after the number is inscribed. When the introduction of this evidence is an incomplete sentence, refrain from using the colon to commence the list. What you can try to do is:

These are the evidence: (1) this is the first evidence, (2) this is the second evidence, and (3) this is the third evidence.

If there’s a comma within the text of any of the evidence, then employ semicolons amid the items. The best way to go around this is to change it up from a run-in text to a vertical list.

Other ways to itemize information would be in distinct statements, using the serial forms of the numerals, i.e.

These are the evidence. First, this is the first evidence. Second, this is the second evidence. Third, this is the third evidence.

Joining all the parts into one giant statement using semicolons is not recommended since by itemizing information into one sentence, the requirement is to use the parentheses.

Interchangeably, you may use letters instead of numbers for all the instance except the last example. Or you could utilize beginner phrases such as “thirdly,” “To begin with,” etc.

The last item on a list would sound absurd if introduced as say “twenty-thirdly,” so instead you’d replace that statement with “finally,” “lastly” and others.

  1. Lettered Lists

Here the semicolons are appropriately used to separate lists created with APA style. They most often use (a) lowercase letters; (b) within the parentheses and (c) partitioned by semicolons.

  1. Running Text Lists

Oxford commas are used in lists within run-in-texts to distinguish items in a list. In other terms, it is called the serial comma, and it precedes the conjunction. For example, The ingredients for a good salsa are chopped tomatoes, chilies, onions, and cilantro.

  1. Sub-Paragraphs

The sub-paragraph is an absolute saver whenever the subject is long and demands attention to detail. An example may be a listing of classic novels and then a detailed synopsis of each book. Employing sub-paragraphs is the best option when dealing with extended details surrounding various exciting topics. With the acceptance of more fluid writing lately, the possibilities of including different writing styles are endless. Including bullet points and sub-paragraphs are some of the ways of how to list things in a essay. And they make for a brilliant delivery and more straightforward understanding of the composition.

How to List Things in an Essay

Literature customs of ways to list things in an essay are easy-going. However, many writers still find it a bit too tedious for them. Well, here is how to list things in a essay:

  1. Numbered and Unnumbered

Two fundamental classes of lists exist: numbered and unnumbered. Most of the numbered lists used for journals, articles, and essays online aren’t numbered since that would suggest a specific arrangement. The only indication for numbering lists will be if there’s a valid reason for the way you choose to order them.

  1. The Bullets

Unnumbered lists often contain articles of information that is preceded by pointers and signals that known only as bullets. Most of the time, these emblems are entirely unnecessary except to stress key points. They may be tailored to the writer’s liking using the “Define New Bullet” option on the paragraph tab in word processors.

  1. The Introductory Sentence

Whenever you construct a numbered or unnumbered list together with a thesis statement or the introductory sentence, you may choose to complete it or leave it hanging. It all depends on the structure and ways to list things in an essay. Only use the colon with the completed statements. An example would be: “For the best cup of coffee, consider these ingredients:” Alternatively, you may write, “For the best cup of coffee, make sure that you” — consider this if only every item in the list can self-reliant finish a statement beginning with that structure.

  1. The Single Items

When the structure is a complete statement, every list item can be a select word, an expression, or a complete sentence. The only condition is that you follow a regular pattern within the list. For this situation, write it in capital letters and employ the full stop only for complete statements.

  1. Punctuation

When the structure is incomplete, use only statements and phrases that build up the structure to fruition. Every one of them should end in a period. Never employ commas or semicolons, and avoid appending from the second to the last item.

  1. Deciding on a List

In advance of deciding on a list, ensure your intentions of really using that structure are presented in that way. Whenever you have an itinerary of just a few items, it would be best to use them in a run-in text as a statement. The semicolon is used to efficiently set up the items to be listed within the sentence.

Contrary to our first scenario, lengthy statements that are to be incorporated into lists are hard to deal with as statements. For this situation, denote the items as distinct paragraphs or mentioned within a lengthy paragraph. As separate paragraphs, they should be numbered lists in an essay, bulleted, or given a title for lengthy sentences within a paragraph.

  1. Separators

Another thing to remember with lists using run-in-text, don’t use dividers like “2)” or “(b)” until it is necessary. That is, the phrasing or the punctuation misses the goal of differentiating the listed items. And despite that, you could take into consideration a second revision to ease that complication and improve the comprehension of your passage.

For simple outlines that have a couple of levels, use, in turn, roman numerals and lowercase letters. A certain progression in multilevel lists is the best way of outlining your work and helps pick out each item in a list. This is the sequence to use:

  • Roman numbers
  • Capitalized letters
  • Arabic numbers
  • Lowercase letters
  • Arabic numeral denoted by parenthesis or written inside brackets.
  • Lowercase letters denoted by parenthesis or written inside brackets

Inscribing lists effortlessly and efficiently helps describe clearly your intentions of utilizing MLA numbered lists in an essay.

How to List Things in an Essay Appropriately

Show some restraint while utilizing bullet points in your academic writing. The last thing you want is for your essay to look as if it has a lousy chickenpox sore. Many of the ways you may employ bullet points in your article might include:

  • Important interpretations
  • For listings
  • Step-by-step guidelines
  • Writing recipes and components
  • When shortening descriptions
  • For backing up your essay points
  • When using illustrations

Pay close attention to how frequently you use them. The bullet points shouldn’t occupy more than a quarter of your essay.

However, there are times when using bullet points within your academic composition is an absolute no-no. Here are some of those cases:

  • When composing your thesis statement
  • Within your conclusion
  • Within a detailed illustration
  • For quotations
  • Within the introduction paragraph

How to Make a List in MLA Format

For the essays in humanity departments across the globe, vertical lists are quite rare and are preferably set as a run-in text within a sentence with the colon employed to start of the list.

Example: Mark Twain has written five publications: The Adventures of Mississippi, The Prince and the Tramp, A Tramp At Home, Life on the Finn, My Early Life.

However, the colon isn’t employed before a list when the list is the object of the verb that announces it:

Example: Mark Twain’s novels include The Adventures of Mississippi, The Prince and the Tramp, A Tramp At Home, Life on the Finn, My Early Life.


Seeing how complex subjects can be simplified, anything is possible for your academic writing. In the near future, whenever your assignment involves research publications, examine how to list things in a essay. Use the knowledge from our article on how to make a list in MLA format. Ensure the numerals and letters are used efficiently across all your lists. Employ a smooth transition of sentences and paragraphs into your numbered lists in an essay. You will learn that authors regularly use lists to describe their most intimate information and in a well-structured manner. We hope you’ve evaluated your approach of numbered lists and will make a good practice of it. Send your comments and questions our way on how to make a list in MLA format.