The first question is, “Do you really need to make a list in your essay?” Well, like any other kind of writing, an academic paper should have a clear structure, proven evidence, and a prime example. To separate one thing from another, the majority of professors recommend using lists that highlight crucial information and divide your essay into several subtopics.
Readers whether it is your school teacher, your mum, or a follower in Instagram, do appreciate lists because they present information in an easy-to-digest manner. We would wager you heard more than once that kind of a tip “Include numbers in your article to grab the attention of the audience.” And that really works. Believe it or not, lists are more commonplace today, even in essays, taking into account the increasing speed of communication and the growing impatience of readers.
So, lists are the simplest and most direct form of communication with the readers. But how are you supposed to list things in the essay? Does it differ from what we see in blog posts? When do you need to put colon, semicolon, commas, and dashes? Experts of “buy term paper” requests know the answers.
Basic Rules: How to List Things in an Essay
First of all, you need to introduce all the listed things in an essay with a topic sentence. For example, “Structure of a paper can be divided into the following parts:
- Introductory paragraph with thesis statement;
- Transitory one;
- The body paragraphs, which are the biggest in size and the most informative;
- The closing one that serves as summarizing part. It can be a brief reminder of all the ideas or a claim based on the author’s purpose and the subject of writing.”
As you see, there are punctuation marks, even in the middle of the listed things. Is it mandatory to put them? If your list contains a series of one-word items, use commas to separate them. In case you have quite long sentences to include in the list, use semicolons and points to separate individual items of more than three words.
What about dashes? They are intended to set off shortlists from the rest of a sentence, highlight a sudden change in the plot of your essay, or explain the one-word sentence. For instance: “There are three types of the composition of any essay:
- Linear – is the development of the essay’s idea step by step.
- Cyclic – this principle of composition reminds of a catalog. The author states the main idea in the first line, and then tests it on being true or false, compares similar cases and makes a hypothesis in the conclusion.
- Fragmental – is used when only a couple of partial ideas are at your disposal and you use them to support the basic idea”.
Numerals and Bullets: What to Choose When You List Things in an Essay?
It is worth to mention that you should not forget about introductory sentence whether you are about to use numerals or bullets. Before including such type of list in your essay, ask your professor for style guidelines about the preferred format. Beware of punctuation while using different kinds of lists. Each sentence in bulleted list ends with a semicolon and starts with a lowercase letter, while a new sentence in numeral lists starts with a capital and ends with a point. Also, we do not recommend using more than one bulleted list in a three-page essay, if you want your composition to look solid.
So, when to use bullets and numerals? The rule says that you should put bullets in lists when the order of the items is not essential. Do not use bullets for a list of two to four small items. This is what colons are for. An example: “A starting point for writing an essay may be many things: an impression from an event, an artistic work, a personality, a fact, an aphorism, or any life situation.” It would be improper to use bullets in this case.
Here is an example of appropriate usage of bullet points. “To make your essay flow, the world-known authors advise to pay attention to the following things:
- break a complex and overwhelming essay into small yet manageable pieces to overcome procrastination;
- use the “imagine” technique to grab the reader’s attention and make them care;
- always organize your writing and know where you are going;
- before writing a conclusion, read one more time your paper to refresh all the evidence and supporting arguments;
- end with a definite opinion on a topic.”
When the order of the listed items is really important for your essay, use numerals. For instance: “While formatting your thesis, organize your writing as follows.
Try to pick a narrow topic and title (up to ten words). Titles like “What is”, “How to” are not the best option for an academic paper.
Here you need to summarize your research contribution. That is why it is recommended to leave this part of the thesis until the end of writing, although it is at the beginning of a thesis structure.
It all comes down to a straightforward question: “What is your research about?”
4. Literature Review
List all the used sources of your research.
What tools did you use to solve a specific problem?
All your data analysis along with your results will be in this section
Comment on the results of your survey. What did you expect?
What have you achieved?”
So, while choosing what punctuation mark to use, read this article one more time and enjoy your score!