I am not native speaker of English. Today I came across this word "roster" and want to understand it better. According to the dictionary, roster means:

  • a list of the people or things that belong to a particular group, team, etc.
  • a group of people or things whose names are included on a roster
  • a list that shows the order in which a job or duty is to be done by the members of a group

Can I say: roster of books = list of books, roster of types = list of types, roster of students = list of students?


1 Answer 1


The difference between a list and a roster is that a roster contains names, whereas a list can contain names but does not have to. The general usage of these words is also different. A list is usually used in the context where one needs to group elements related together in a way. A roster is usually used in the context where one needs to assign duties to people at specific times.

Below is a list of yoghurt companies by market share.

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Below is a roster

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Edit as at 8/8/17 2:44AM GMT+10

I will also add a few more things to consider:

A list is usually one-dimensional: you have a list heading, and under it list items. A roster is multi-dimensional.

In a roster, each intersection represents a unique value, an instance. In a list, an instance is only a list item. In a roster, the order is generally not important. In a list, the order may have some meaning.

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