This is kinda an extension to: this question.

I am writing a scientific paper and have a numbered list. Now, when I want to refer to that list I want to say something like: "This issue is closely related to item number 12."

As a non-native I'm not sure whether that sounds 'normal' or if it would be easier to read with "no. 12" or "#12" or option number(?) three, just "item 12".

  • It would depend on the text you use to label or introduce your list—are they items, facts, issues?
    – Xanne
    Aug 11, 2020 at 6:10
  • 3
    There is no single correct answer; this is largely a matter of style. Adhere to the discipline of your editor, publication, or organization, or in the absence of a house style. identify a style manual appropriate to your audience and tastes and be consistent in its application.
    – choster
    Aug 11, 2020 at 6:49
  • 1
    If you intend your readership to include English speakers from outside the US it would be better to avoid the use of the hash sign '#'. It's not usually used to mean 'number' the UK and, I suspect, in other regions as well. Given the wide use of it in social media in the form of hashtags it would probably confuse. #avoidliketheplague
    – BoldBen
    Aug 11, 2020 at 7:18

2 Answers 2


Use "Item 2", not "Item number 2" (and not No. or № or #). Similarly use "Figure 4" not "Figure number 4", and "Paragraph 3" not "Paragraph number 3".

  • And how can anyone judge whether this answer is correct? If you are new to this list you should consult the help on answering questions.
    – David
    Aug 11, 2020 at 19:08

In the case of a list of equations or scientific propositions, one convention is to number the list as in the following example:

X + Y = 8 (1)

X = Y (2)

Z = X.Y (3)

We find Y by solving (1) and (2). Z may be calculated from (3).

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