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Subject:Re: Readability of extended list items? From:"Davis, Suzy" <SDavis -at- VITGCAB4 -dot- TELSTRA -dot- COM -dot- AU> Date:Mon, 2 Dec 1996 14:03:00 EST
I have always understood bullet lists or numbered lists to be a continuation
of a sentence or a paragraph, in either case the bullet or number should be
flush with the margin of the paragraph above it and the list paragraphs set
in a hanging indent. Extended lists in my book also, are at least bounded
by the section structure as defined by the previous level heading if not the
paragraphs within the section.
As for improving readability - to my mind this is a redundant argument. By
using a numbered or bulleted list you are already making the contents of the
list more easily readable. If it needs to be more readable again increase
space between the list paragraphs, or increase the right indent, or change
the font, or....
I don't believe I have ever seen a list set out in the manner described by
your colleague. To me it seems so illogical it makes my brain quiver! The
reader would be wondering what the list actually is: part of the original
level 1 heading rather than the level 2 heading... or maybe they'd think
it's an extensive editors note? (But why would an editor do that?)
Please don't do it. All sorts of people will start picking up the habit and
I'll have to check into a mental hospital!
aedavis -at- ibm -dot- net
PS I have just checked a style manual and contacted a publisher friend.
The style manual does not mention the possibility and my publisher friend
mirrored my reaction. He also added that for a publisher to do this it
would be too fiddly and it wouldn't be worth the hassle. We both agree that
it's either due to australian-american differences (no insult intended) or
your colleague has only ever seen the work of writers who hadn't quite
worked out how to format text yet... :-)
From: Beth Mazur
To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
Subject: Readability of extended list items?
Date: 2 December 1996 5:01PM
I'm having a discussion with a coworker regarding the readability of
list items (as opposed to indented or flush with the left margin) in
For example, consider the following:
Level One Head
This is a paragraph. Note the indent from the level one head.
Level Two Head
This is also a paragraph. Level three heads have the same indent as
paragraphs and level two heads, but their typography is different
terms of weight and size.
However, extended list items have an initial margin in between the
paragraph/level two head/level three heads and the level one heads.
o This is a bullet item.
o This is a second bullet item whose text will wrap to the left
of paragraphs and the level two and three heads.
This is a paragraph. Note that extended lists also includes
lists as well as bullet lists.
1. The first step is to...
2. The second step is ... As with bullet lists, the text will wrap to
the left margin of paragraphs.
The two resources I have at hand do not address this issue in terms
of readability. A WWW search hasn't been too productive. And I can't
recall ever *seeing* an extended list in print, although my coworker
tells me that it's common.