Ten Reasons Why I (don’t really) Love Lists.
The reasons to love a list are innumerable. Aside from all that, though:
- With a list, you can quickly fill up the page without having to actually write very much. It's kind of like using a really big typeface to get out of writing a long book report.
- Similarly, when a list is all you write, who needs to revise! Publishing a list is like publishing an outline. It's so easy; anyone can be a writer now!
- A series of lists invites the reader to scan the page, skipping around, picking and choosing, getting disoriented and finally arriving at an incomplete idea.
- Lists often suggest a false priority of ideas. This is actually the most important point on my list, but I put it third because these are listed in the order that they came to mind.
- Lists often suggest a priority of ideas when in fact there is none. In such cases, a paragraph would do nicely, if it weren't for point 1 above.
- Nested lists! Why bother to explain a complex relationship?
- They're also fun to read.
- They make it so much easier to understand what's going on.
- The fun never stops.
- I could do this all day:
- Nested-nested-nested lists
- Oh yeah.
- Lists invite little design arguments over whether to use bullets, boxes, circles, numbers or, my personal favorite, hiragana characters. Should we indent the lists?
- Lists of paragraphs are better than a regular old series of paragraphs, because with a list of paragraphs you get to have more fun with the design (see #7 above). But what is a list of paragraphs, really? If you like, you could read any document with multiple paragraphs as a list: one paragraph, another, and so on... Could it be that all writing is list-making? Is a poem a list of lines? Should we go back and number all the lists in all the documents? Or, would they be bullets? Which bullets? There's a whole list of typographical characters you could use to mark the items in a list. How far down the nested list would you have to go before you could use the Double Dagger? Look how cool it is: ‡. I digress.
- Finally, lists are easy to tack onto later. Nothing seems out of place that way.
- A list just begs you to come up with ten items. It gets you cool points when you do it.
- This list goes up to 11. Sorry about that.