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Create lists

Identify all of the lists in your memo, e‑mail, letter, or report. A list is any series of points, statements, or information that has separate parts. They fit in one category or classification.

The largest list will be the main points of your memo, e‑mail, letter, or report. If the memo, e‑mail, letter, or report contains four parts about four different topics, they still have one category: they are all parts of your memo, e‑mail, letter, or report. If one of those parts has four main points, the four main points become a second list—a list within the larger list of four parts. One of those items may have its own list.


This report contains our questions about the water disposal area and recommendations for the water discharged from the airport runways.

We have three questions to clarify the current and future use of the farm ponds beside the airport.

  1. What is the projected time period that the ponds will be used to collect water?
  2. Will the new owners allow use of the acreage for that purpose for an extended time period?
  3. Will this same acreage be sufficient to handle all the future water that might run off at this location? In your answer, specify the following:

    • What quantity of runoff can the acreage absorb in a 24-hour period?
    • Into what channels will the acreage drain if it cannot hold the runoff?
We also have three recommendations for the water discharged from the runways.

  1. The water could be discharged to Lincoln Creek if the discharge meets water quality standards.
  2. If only elevated heavy metals are present, the contaminated water may be routed to the farm pond.
  3. If an elevated level of nitrate is present, the water may be applied on the acreage reserved for that purpose so it seeps into the ground.

Every list must have an identifying category name. In the example above, the first list is identified as "contents of the report." It contains two parts: "questions" and "recommendations."

The second list is the list that is identified as "questions." The third list is the list identified as "recommendations." The final list is within the "questions" list. It is identified as the list of "specifications" or "things to specify" because the writer opened the list with "specify the following."

You will use the category word to open the list, as explained in the next guideline.