Sometimes I run across a list where the elements are parenthetically labeled for future reference. Here is a fictitious example:

The People of the United States established the Constitution to (A) establish Justice, (B) insure domestic Tranquility, (C) provide for the common defence, (D) promote the general welfare, and (E) secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

I would like to know if there is a name for such a structure, and what the common style guidelines are.

  • 2
    I think that's just called "reading out an enumerated list". – Joe Z. Mar 13 '13 at 19:42

I believe Joe has it right. This is called an enumerated list within a sentence according to this style guide. As a matter of punctuation style, you can use either commas or semicolons to delimit the list, the latter of which is often used when the list elements themselves contain commas. For example: (a) New York, NY; (b) Los Angeles, CA; or (c) Denver, CO.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.