When you are delineating a set of statements which come one after another, could you use ordinal numbers but omit some of them in between ? For example, consider I want to describe the limitations in my study:

However, these results should be interpreted considering certain limitations existing in the study. First, the small sample size ... ... . In addition, our sample consisted of young people residing ... ... . The third limitation is that ... .

Is this style correct ?

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    I would find that style difficult, and I would wonder what your second statement was. Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 18:15
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    Don't number topics unless you're starting a paragraph for each one. That helps maintain the structure. Varying the presentation is a good idea, unless you have a large number of topics, in which case numbered bullet points might be more appropriate. That said, however, In addition does not count as a number; it might be one more feature of the topic just mentioned, so I'd be with @ElliottFrisch on this one. If you start counting, keep counting. Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 18:17
  • @JohnLawler Okay. If I remove numbers, will this be okay? : One limitation of the study is ... . In addition, ... . Finally ... .
    – Ehsan88
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 18:31
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    Looks good. Just be sure not to associate one with another if you want them kept separate; this is what bullet points are for. Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 19:45
  • Possibly better to be moved to writers.stackexchange.com ?
    – Martin F
    Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 18:14

1 Answer 1


I generally recommend using (uniform) numbering when itemising points. It gives the advantage of having a precise anchor to which you can refer later in the paragraph. Think about it: using the notation you have now, if you wanted to refer to the "additional" point, how would you go about that (without briefly describing the point all over again)? It would be so much easier if you could say Like I mentioned in the first/second/third point above IMO.

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