How long should a list item be?

Can a list item have have more than one paragraph? if so, how many is the maximum recommended? and when that type of lengthy list item is used? Is there a difference in length between bullet and numbered list items?

I’ve never seen a list item of more than one paragraph, so I’m curious if they actually exist or are must nots.

After reading the answers and comments I clarify that I’m not referring to nested lists.


There comes a point when the list no longer looks like a list. This depends on how you demarcate list items, but may be when you can’t guarantee two or more items on a page in many cases (such as bulletted or even numbered lists).

If items run to more than one paragraph each, I’d question whether a list as we usually use the term is the optimal way of presenting your set of items, your mental list. Instead (sub-) sub-sections with headings might be more useful to your reader. A list of short items may be used to summarise that section of text if you really need to.

An approach I’ve used in the past, I believe successfully, is to write body text with at least one paragraph for each item in my mental list. The first few words of each item were emphasised and gave a very brief (even single word) key to the subject of the next paragraph or two. I’m not even sure whether to call this structure a list as such, but it’s a method of discussing each item in a list. This was in a thesis and technical documents.

Source : Link , Question Author : Eiws Not , Answer Author : Chris H

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