Is there a word that names the sequence events were written about or described in, as opposed to the word chronologically? Example: Did you want us to present the events in the story chronologically or (in the sequence they were written)?

  • I'm not sure that English has a single word that both means what you want it to mean and would not require further elaboration for listeners. Is there a reason why "in the sequence they were written," "in publication order," etc., would not suffice?
    – Brian Tung
    Dec 12, 2015 at 0:43
  • @BrianTung just for the sake of phrasing the sentence concisely Dec 12, 2015 at 0:47
  • Comprehensibility trumps concision. :-) Although "verbatim" would work under some situations, I don't think it can be used quite universally for the sense you describe. Hopefully, it's good for what you want it for.
    – Brian Tung
    Dec 12, 2015 at 0:49
  • @BrianTung in the specific case, verbatim was what I was looking for, but agreed, it only works in certain circumstances Dec 12, 2015 at 0:50

4 Answers 4


I think verbatim is your best bet. While not referring to original order in a series, it more generally means in the exact way it was written.

Your sample sentence could read,

"Do you want us to present the events in the story verbatim or chronologically".



Ordinal - Mirriam-Webster

"of a specified order or rank in a series."

Ordinal Number - Mirriam-Webster

"a number designating the place (as first, second, or third) occupied by an item in an ordered sequence."

  • But this still requires that the order be specified (here, the order in which they were written) and is not specific enough. It could refer to the order they were arranged on the bookshelf. Dec 11, 2015 at 19:21

The problem is that you're looking at different kinds of chronological ordering.  There's the chronology of publication and the chronology of the plot.  Since both of those options are chronological, we should avoid labelling one of them as other than chronological. 

I suggest contrasting "publication order" or "canonical order" with "storyline order" or "the plot's chronological order".  I'll use Star Wars as an example.  The order of entry into canon is: 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3.  Plot order is: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. 

The contrast is between different bases for the chronologies.  It's not between chronology and some other form of ordinality.  The similarity between the plot's chronology and the canon's chronology is that they're both based on time.  That's the nature of a chronology.  The difference between them is a question of which clock matters -- the clock inside the publisher's office or the clock inside the story? 

You should determine which clocks matter in your context, and then label your contrast with something that distinguishes between the natures of those clocks. Consider such options as:

  • timeline of the work's creation (the clock that matters is on the author's wall)
  • timeline of the work's publication (the clock that matters is on the publisher's wall)
  • timeline of the work's entry into canon (the clock that matters marks entry dates)
  • recommended reading order of a collection of works (the clock that matters marks the audience's time, but it is suggested by authors and publishers and could be independent of any other timeline)


From Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary

In a series; one after another; serially

  • Welcome to EL&U. It would be better if you could include any reference/research that can support your answer. I would advise you to take the tour and visit our help center to see how it works here.
    – user140086
    Dec 12, 2015 at 15:38
  • Add an example sentence using "seriatim". The sentence should make the meaning of "seriatim" clear. Following Rathony's suggestion is a excellent idea.
    – ab2
    Dec 12, 2015 at 16:04

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