If you have a series of elements in text, each element will be separated by lowercase letters enclosed in parentheses. Although only necessary for more complex elements, here's a simple example (a) lions, (b) tigers, and (c) bears.

Only use numbers to separate elements in a series if in a vertical list.

1. One element.
2. Two element.
3. Three element.

This would be appropriate when you need to show a specific order of elements, such as in steps in a procedure or conclusions.

Sixth edition APA now allows for bulleted lists. Bulleted lists are appropriate when presenting a list of items in no particular order.

  • I like apples.
  • I like bananas.
  • I like oranges.

The bullets indicate that I like apples, bananas, and oranges equally.


Use a comma to separate each element in a series of three or more. In the case an element has an internal comma, use a semicolon to separate the elements. Here's an example: (a) Minneapolis, Minnesota; (b) Lawrence, Kansas; and (c) San Diego, California.