We're providing a web service where users can create topics and categories. A category can either just be a list of topics or have authored content(s) in addition to a list of subtopics. It is therefore possible to view a category in two modes: "List" (showing subtopics) and "Contents" (showing authored content).

I'm not native English and I don't know how to label the links that switches between "List" and "Contents" view mode.

Should it say "Content" or "Contents"?

I've tried searching for an answer to this and for example read this q&a but due to the lack of knowledge in English from my part I still cannot figure out which one to use.

Perhaps we should label those view modes differently all together, i.e not use "List" and "Content"/"Contents" at all?

Any help/suggestion would be appreciated.

2 Answers 2


List and Contents are probably interchangeable for your purposes (a "table of contents" is a list of topics and sub-topics).

'Content', the way you are using it, is more specific to electronic media. Since you're talking about displaying something to a user, you might try using a different term entirely that more helpfully identifies the type of content (in the generic sense). My best recommendation for that usage would be 'articles', unless your content is more specific than that (essays, stories, poems) or a different medium than text (videos, sound clips, images).


Perhaps because content can mean happy (stress the second syllable), there is a marked preference for Contents when refering to a list or summary of headings or topics.

I must say though that contents does sound a little bit old-fashioned when it comes to websites. It is a word I associate with books and reference books in particular. But perhaps that is what you want.

I often see websites using a clickable plus sign symbol,+, which has come to mean click me for more detail.

Alternatively you could use All Topics; or View All; or Overview; or Start Here; or Home; or something else entirely.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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