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My boss wants business proposals to start with a numbered list in sentence form. She wants the numbers in parentheses and the sentence to continue on with no capitalization. Microsoft word keeps autocorrecting against this and I personally don't think it looks correct.

(4) pieces of such and such, (10) pieces of this and that and (5) pieces of whatever.

I think it should look like this:

(4) Pieces of such and such, (10) pieces of this and that and (5) pieces of whatever.

I'm unsure which is grammatically correct, and my internet search has been in vain.

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    Could you give us the whole sentence, please. It's not clear from your post whether you have a numbered list or not. if you have, why do you jump from (4) to (10) and then back to (5)
    – tunny
    Nov 13, 2014 at 21:33
  • It might be helpful to use an example that would be a grammatically correct sentence without the confusion. The ones you've provided have no predicate and already cannot be correct.
    – wfaulk
    Nov 13, 2014 at 21:47
  • The examples I have were the actual start of the sentence. I don't think it looks great, and I misspoke with the numbered list part because the numbers are denoting the quantities of certain items.
    – Addi
    Nov 13, 2014 at 21:56
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    You might want to edit your question to say, in the opening sentence, "to start with a series of numbered items," instead of "to start with a numbered list in sentence form." Am I correct in understanding that there is no list in the sense of their being a series of sentences along the lines of [line 1] "(4) pieces of such and such, (10) pieces of this and that and (5) pieces of whatever." [line 2] "(2) pieces of such and such, (7) pieces of this and that and (15) pieces of whatever." [line 3] "(8) pieces of such and such, (6) pieces of this and that and (12) pieces of whatever." and so on?
    – Sven Yargs
    Nov 13, 2014 at 22:06
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    I have never seen this kind of use of cardinal numbers in parentheses. Usually, numbers in parentheses are either parenthetical clarification, as in "the room seats fifty (50) people", or used to order a list, as in "(1) This is one item, (2) this is another item, and (3) this is a third item." Your word processor is assuming you are intending the last usage. Nov 14, 2014 at 5:17

2 Answers 2

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Technically the (4) is the start of the sentence, so if it were spelled out, the "Four" would be capitalized. Therefore, the "p" in pieces does not need to be capitalized.

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  • Do you feel like perhaps it's grammatically incorrect to begin with the number in parentheses altogether?
    – Addi
    Nov 13, 2014 at 21:56
  • Do you feel like perhaps it's grammatically incorrect to begin with the number in parentheses altogether?
    – Addi
    Nov 13, 2014 at 21:56
  • Generally, the rule is that you spell out all numbers under 100. However, businesses have their own rules/standards. If your boss really wants (4) instead of four, then I would go with (4).
    – Nicole
    Nov 13, 2014 at 21:59
  • It is grammatically correct to capitalize, and for that matter spell, absolutely any way you see fit. Orthography has nothing to do with grammar. In fact that is why it's called ortho-GRAPH-y in the first place. There is no orthography in speech at all. That doesn't make speech ungrammatical. ThiS senTENCe is GrAmMaticaLLLLLLLLy imPeccabl. Conversely, this right here sentence is spolen and punctuating perfect, yet no grammatical is it and nobody cans to call it that.
    – RegDwigнt
    Nov 28, 2014 at 19:57
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   When a number starts a sentence it has to be spelled out.
   A basic problem is when to spell out a number and when to use figures for it.

I think it would be acceptable if you follow the general reference on capitalization.

Without the numbered list at the beginning-

Pieces of such and such (4), pieces of this and that (10) and pieces of whatever (5)

Or with the numbered list at the beginning-

(4) Pieces of such and such, (10) pieces of this and that and (5) pieces of whatever.

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