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Numbered Lists In An Essay

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Scholarly publications regularly introduce lists, which categorize the information and make it easier to comprehend the entire section with just a few words. The formats of literature allow for many different lists. However, the same kind of fundamental rules applies to most of them. First, the points should be equidistant and follow a regular pattern. The most common ways of presenting lists are by numbers, letters, and bullet points which aren't necessarily required at all times. Here, we will discuss the four standard formats and ways to list things in an essay used by authors everywhere. We will now explore how to list items in an article.

How to List Things in an Essay

  • Run-In Lists

This type of list is integrated right within the text. The parts of the sentence can be partitioned as illustrated with these examples.

Distinguish with a Colon: Whenever an itemized list precedes a complete statement separate the statement from the list with a colon.

E.g., "Do not visit the haunted hallways without these items: a gown, a book of riddles, a flashlight, and your ticket."

Distinguished with Numbers: Number the list when it is integrated into the text to distinguish the different items, e.g., "Do not visit the haunted hallways without (1) a gown, (2) a book of riddles, (3) a flashlight, and (4) your ticket."

  • Vertical Lists

The vertical list is written by beginning with a concise statement that provides a general view of the points to be listed. It doesn't require bullet points to delineate the items and the punctuation marks at the end aren't all that necessary. For example:

Your interview documents should include these items:

Copies of your resume

Business cards

Portfolios/ Work samples

When the topic sentence is a complete one, and all things in the list are complete statements, a punctuation mark should come after each item. Here is an example using bullet points

Make delicious garlic bread every time by following these easy steps:

  • Preheat the oven to 365°
  • Cut the loaf of bread in half and lay the bread with its sliced side up on a baking pan.
  • Mix the butter, garlic, and parsley and spread it on the cut side.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Position a rack 6 inches from the heat source. Sprinkle it with a dash of Parmesan. Return the bread to the oven and broil it to a crispy nature for 1 to 2 minutes and serve while it is still hot.

Pay attention and notice that each item on the list is a complete statement; therefore, final punctuation is used — the period to be precise.

Vertical Lists Punctuated as a Sentence

One of the ways of how to list things in an essay. It is a lengthy list that is intricate and cannot fit within a sentence; the vertical list is then punctuated as a sentence. For sentences that are deeply punctuated and lengthy, they benefit most from this format. An example is shown below:

Literature instructors have made considerable alterations to their curricula and classrooms, and today, it is natural to find:

  1. Innovative student book reports, especially the classic novels
  2. Greater focus on group discussions
  3. Incorporation of theater as a part of literature lectures
  4. Comprehensive lesson plans.
  5. Vertical Lists with Subdivided Items

A complicated vertical list may be styled to resemble an outline, using numbers and letters to provide a reasonable composition. The opening line should be a complete statement, as with the example below.

The literature for this year will be tackling quite exciting themes:

  1. Advancement vs. tradition
  2. The heartbreak of betrayal
  3. The impermanence of physical beauty
  4. The vulnerability of the humble

Paraphrasing and Quoting: Bulleted and Numbered Lists

Citations of lists must be done efficiently, and the wording of the paraphrases be adequately done. There are three techniques for doing this: paraphrase totally, style the list as a chunk paragraph pulled word for word from the source, or finally, you could cite particular passages. Citation of the sources is essential whether pulling quotations directly or paraphrasing.

  • Citation of a Paraphrased List

When paraphrasing items in a list, use an indication phrase or a quote in the paragraph text before adding the list.

  • Citation of a Block Quote List

These lists can always be quickly introduced with a signal phrase instead of quotation marks. The reason for this is that they are derived directly from their sources. They can function as quotations in the form of a unit of texts, also termed block quotes. Single-spaces are appropriate for this kind of list. And whenever a valid addition such as comments need to be introduced, [do so within the confines of the brackets]. When the list is finished, you may add a quotation after the final item. Preferably, add the citation after the period at the end of the sentence. This is one of the many ways of how to list things in an essay

  • Quoting Distinct Items in a List

Another way of how to list things in a essay is separating the item lists. A signal phrase or a quotation before the list used within the last paragraph is a brilliant way of wording some items differently and quoting other items directly. Insert the quotation marks and a citation with the language straightforwardly as from the source.

  • Ways to List Things in an Essay and Paraphrase Correctly

Paraphrasing is merely citing a source quotation indirectly, that is wording is entirely different. It is the product of your familiarity with the source and can be made to fit the format of your paper and sentence formations.

Wording the source differently but only parts of it is a terrible way of paraphrasing. It destroys the tone of your work and the easy comprehension of your passage. It is commonly termed "mosaic" plagiarism. The reason for paraphrasing any text would be when it is hard to understand, or the original format doesn't entirely fit the style of your paper.

The importance of paraphrasing is that it shows your reader just how much thought was put into writing the paper. Using your style, language, and deliberately making the reader comprehend your essay goes a long way in awarding your bonus points. As the rule of law, paraphrasing should dominate our work, and the direct quotations shouldn't exceed more than 10% of your paper. There are so many ways to list things in an essay that include paraphrasing.

  • Steps Towards a Proper Paraphrase:
  1. Read carefully through the source material until its intention and information are fully understood.
  2. Note down the relevant information with your own words as per your understanding. Quotation marks are desperately crucial for quotes and phrases that you choose to add to the paper directly.
  3. For any academic writing, it is wiser to work with the written outline you have than straight for the sources. Because the words you have written down are now familiar to you as compared to what you read while still skimming the source material.

A good tip about paraphrasing is to continue editing it until it no longer looks like the original and it won't take much of your time.

  • Formatting Rules for Direct Quotes

Quotes are direct additions from the source material onto your essay. As a common rule, quotes are written within quotation marks. Multiple quotation formats depend on page numbers for quoting direct citations. Utilize a quote when information is evident, open, and short, or when language is especially impressive or historically significant. Good things to quote would be a distinctly worded definition, controversial quotations, lawfully binding statement, or a text from a famous speech. You must understand the rules of how to make a list in MLA format

  • Employ [parentheses] around the language used for clarification that you have modified or added into a direct quote. However, whenever it is necessary to shift your language use for purposes of clarity constantly, then paraphrasing may be the single best option for you.

Example: At the beginning of the twentieth century, as political strategist discovered, "the world of liberation [communism] was a threat t the entire political agenda of the United States" (2004, p. 52).

  • Utilize an ellipsis to show a discontinuity in a sentence.

Example: "We are both obsessed and disgusted by the opinion of politicians… they do what they please and face no consequences.

The Public Opinion." 43

  • "Quotes added inside larger quotes 'should use single quotation marks' to distinguish them" [6].
  • Blockquotes are just as they seem, and are used for a quotation of more than five complete statements form the original text. A signal phrase is used to establish a blockquote. Use single spaces for block quotes and indent them one-half inch from the left margin. Insert the quotation at the end of the blockquote.
  • Whenever you have quotes within block quotes, utilize "regular quotation marks" for the quotation within the material.
  • Utilize [sic] for errors within a direct quote by the author and distinguish it from mistakes in your own work.

Example: Charles Darwin, the revolutionary scientist in 1953, argued, "Evolution rather than creation was responsiable [sic] for all the abundant life and variety on earth" (p. 407).

  • "While adding the elements of emphasis such as highlighting, underlining, italics, and boldface for your own purposes always indicate after closing the quotation(emphasis included).

Especially if they were not so in the original text.

Numbered Lists in an Essay

Journalists and technical writers always face the desperation of a format that presents lots of information in an easily comprehensible way for the reader. And this is the function of numbered lists such as the MLA numbered list in an essay. Do excellent research on how to make a list in MLA format for this.

  • Write to be Read

Complicated and lengthy information is best presented using bullet lists and numbered lists. This makes it easier for the reader to retrieve information while evaluating the most critical sections of your essay. The modern generation has become conscious of their time and need only skim through details for what they need. Thus having them in list formats makes it simplified.

  • Bullet Vs. Numbered Lists

Wisdom is knowing when to utilize these types of lists, and it may be hard to do at times. Word processors such as Microsoft Word and WPS have made it easier to add bullet lists which hadn't been as prominent before.

  • When to Use Numbered Lists

There are many ways on how to list things in a essay. Sequences and information presented in chronological order are best presented using numbered lists. Numbered and unnumbered lists are utilized continuously for publications in academic journals and writings and also government papers. For business premises, they employ the use of bulleted lists instead.

  • When to Capitalize the First Letter in a Bulleted Item

Begin each bulleted item with a capitalized letter. MLA numbered lists in an essay work in such a similar way.

  • When to Use Periods and Full Stops

Utilize periods after independent clauses, dependent clauses, or lengthy statements that are presented on distinct lines in a list. This is how to make a list in MLA format.

An example:

Smart TV has the following features:

  • Quad-Core Processor
  • Full Web Browser
  • New 5 Panel Smart Hub
  • Motion Control with Camera Accessory

Pointer: Employ full stops after short statements that are important for the wholeness of the phrase introducing the list.

For example:

Opera Mini has several features, including:

  • Free VPN
  • Snapshot
  • Ad Blocker
  • Sync Data

It is unnecessary to use periods after concise phrases or single words in a list if the introductory sentence is virtually complete according to the rules of grammar.

For example:

The cars within this price range have fascinating features, such as:

  • Great visibility
  • Roominess
  • Large glove box

Note: When your document is extensive, and the list is lengthy, decide the format to use beforehand. For bulleted lists, be consistent and decide on how each item will end. Whether wit a period or not.


Your choices on the use of MLA numbered lists in an essay is entirely dependent on what you're presenting. Bullets act to highlight your key points and make them visible to the reader. We hope that you now have a clear picture of how to tackle numbered lists in an essay. In case of any questions, feel free to get in touch us, we're always ready to help!

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