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Can someone point me to some style guides somewhere on this issue? Let's say you have a list of three issues and you want to introduce the list and give the three issues. Is it better to put the "intro sentence" as its own paragraph (Version 1 below) or as the first sentence of the first paragraph (Version 2 below).

I tend to think that, strictly speaking, it should be its own paragraph, but it seems more flowing and less mannered to simply elide from that into the first point. This is for writing for general non-fiction, somewhere north of middlebrow level.

Version 1

There are three reasons why wallabies are cute.

First, they are fluffy. We all know how cute that is. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Second, they are kind of rounded--how cute is that? Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Finally, their name is "wallaby". Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Version 2

There are three reasons why wallabies are cute. First, they are fluffy. We all know how cute that is. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Second, they are kind of rounded--how cute is that? Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Finally, their name is "wallaby". Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

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There can be several more possibilities. Like,


Version Edited 1

... There is no end to the cuteness wallabies present. Figuring out why they are cute, could be broadly divided into three reasons.

Firstly..

Secondly..

Thirdly..


Version Edited 2

... There is no end to the cuteness wallabies present. Figuring out why they are cute, could be broadly divided into three reasons.

Firstly... Secondly... Thirdly..


See its your story. The way its written is all upto your discretion. Also, you might want to consider the targeted audience. Suppose, you are writing for children, I feel that your version 1 is the best. Its easily read and unambiguous. Now, were it a part of a thick plot in a mystery or detective novel meant for adults... I would have liked the version 2 better, where the reader must read properly to not miss anything.

I hope it helps.

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Grammar is not my forte but I believe the first sentence of version 2 should be separated using a semi-colon.

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Some of the "style" aspect of this question depends on the medium. I would lay it out and punctuate it differently for a PowerPoint presentation than for a newspaper article. However, in general, an introductory sentence would be its own paragraph, followed by the three "point" paragraphs. I would not combine the intro with only one of the points. If the points were brief, it would probably be best to just have one paragraph. For example:

There are several ways to set off a list of items: With bullets, with numbers, or with white space.

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