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The List Article: Write Each Item So It Can Stand Alone

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

Hear the decrees and regulations I am giving you today, so you may learn them and obey them! (Deuteronomy 5:1, NLT)

A Word For Writers

The List Article: a #devotional based on Deut 5:1 with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #WritingTips #WritingArticles

A list article is a popular format among writers and readers alike. It’s a collection of numbered standalone items, combined under a unifying headline like, “The Ten Commandments.”

The structure is enduring because it’s versatile. You can write a list article for any kind of publication (“4 Learning Activities that Preteens Love” for a volunteer toolkit) and for any kind of audience (“6 Lures that Reel in White Perch” for an angler magazine). Plus, a listicle (list + article) is easy to write. You can put together one bullet at a time. 

Readers appreciate a list article because it’s manageable. They can skim the list of items and choose which ones to examine fully.

The granddaddy of all list articles – The Ten Commandments – appears twice in scripture (in Exodus 20 and in Deuteronomy 5). Each commandment is presented separately, just as is the case in a list article. And each item relates to the others. But the itemized structure allows readers to read and study each commandment in depth. 

Just as each of The Ten Commandments can be studied individually, so should each item in your list article.  A good list article is structured to be skimmable. Each item contains valuable content, but the reader can choose which entries to read thoroughly. 

Write your list article so readers can scan it and dig in accordingly.

A Wise Word

Write a list article so each item can stand alone.

A Word To Pray

Heavenly Father,

In The Ten Commandments, you’ve given me a wonderful list article model to follow. Show me how to write each item in my list article so that it has depth and can stand alone. 

In Jesus’s name, Amen.


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