This part of the writing process involves arranging your supporting sentences in a logical and cohesive manner.

Enumeration is the most common method to do this.

The writer begins with a general class and then breaks it down by listing some or all of its members or parts.

Words that show the reader exactly what is being listed are called enumerators. (These usually appear in the topic sentence.)

These are valuable key words, and using them in your topic sentence helps you organize your paragraphs more clearly.

When making a list, you usually use numbers to indicate the various items:

1.      apples

2.       grapes

3.      oranges

In more formal writing, however, you use listing signals (first, second, third …)


Familiarize yourself with the various types of listing signals and structures in your textbook.

Oftentimes, all the parts of a paragraph will be of equal importance. (square)

Sometimes, however, the writer will want to single out an item (which is more important, more interesting, more influential, stronger, bigger, etc.).

If the writer lists the most important point first and then goes on to speak of the other points, then s/he is using descending order. (Triangle with base on top)

If the writer lists the minor points first and saves the most important point for last, then s/he is using ascending order. (Triangle with base on bottom)


©Ann Newman