Vertical Lists, Bullets

Q. What position does Chicago take on numbered lists within sentences? I’m editing a document in which the author frequently sets apart elements of a series with (1), (2), and (3). The enumeration rarely indicates a progression, and it is used in short and long sentences, even when only two elements of a series are listed. I think this practice is burdensome to the reader in many cases and makes the document appear too technical, but haven’t found anything to support my claim.

A. If there are so many of these that they begin to look silly or distracting, I would edit them out. Gently point out to the writer that although such numbering is useful in complex enumerations, his or her writing is clear enough without the crutch.