FFS. I do this all the time and it kills me.

The editor knows that an empty line followed by a number followed by a period followed by a space is a list item.

  1. This works great
  2. Its almost magic

The problem is that I almost always use a close parenthesis for my lists. I think it's a pretty common practice and I'm not a freak for doing it. And if you say I am I will sue. The problem is that the editor doesn't accept the parenthesis as an acceptable list delimiter.

1) This fails horribly 2) This is on the next line I swear

Can haz parens as list delimeter 2? kthxbai (>^_^)>

  • 14
    You're a freak for doing so. – random Feb 17 '10 at 13:24
  • 3
    Parens are used for letters {a) b) c)} not for numbers [1. 2. 3.]. – Ladybug Killer Feb 17 '10 at 13:34
  • 2
    @random / @John: it depends where you're are from. In many countries 1), 2) is what is usually used. – Thomas Bonini Feb 17 '10 at 14:12
  • @Koper, then only if those countries use English one could consider using it here as well? – Arjan Feb 18 '10 at 8:54
  • I'm glad this wasn't implemented, and hope it never will be. Currently it's my favorite way to get around uncooperative automatic numbered list formatting. – Jason C Aug 12 '13 at 15:36
  • @LadybugKiller Tell this to the millions of new users using parens for their enumerations for whatever cultural reasons. – Christian Rau Sep 25 '14 at 15:27

It's transformed into HTML, and rendered by your browser. So even if 1)... 2)... were recognized, the output would still be

<li>First item</li>
<li>Second item</li>

...and the output would still be

  1. First item
  2. Second item

So the change would allow markup that other Markdown engines wouldn't recognize, and produce exactly the same output. You might as well just get used to the period.


Not a bad idea, but too significant a deviation from the markdown spec to be viable, IMO.

  • I was afraid a little change might take a lot of work. – Won't Feb 18 '10 at 15:22

People might currently be using this to avoid an automatic list. So, no, please.

1) one
3) two
6) three

  • Exactly what I came here to post when I saw this post pop up in my search results. – Jason C Aug 12 '13 at 15:35

I have never seen anyone use parentheses to avoid a numbered list. It's always been the case that the author intends to create a numbered list of some kind.

Now, if HTML and CSS are incapable of producing a list with parentheses, then by all means use dots. But I'm getting a little tired of editing questions that use parentheses.


This is indeed an extremely useful feature. In fact it is not so much a question of convenience but much more about all the new users (likely unaware of proper markdown rules) that use parens for their enumerations, probably due to different cultural standards.

One of the biggest advantages of markdown is that it is so intuitive and that text written properly structured in its raw form usually works right out of the box when processed by markdown. It really happens very often that posts from new users with enumeration lists require an edit to be properly formatted simply because they used parens instead of dots. Implementing this alternative markdown syntax would thus highly reduce the necessity to reformat every feeled 2nd enumeration list.

Also note, that the recently developed CommonMark standard seems to support paren-style enumeration, too. But while there are existing requests for implementing this here, the possiblity and time frame of this implementation are still rather vague and implementing this extended enumeration style should be easier and faster than that (like the recently introduced possibility to start lists at numbers other than 1).

  • Yep, so numbered lists in common can be delimited with periods or close parens (see the spec here), so if/when they get around to implementing the One True Spec this question becomes status-completed – Won't Sep 25 '14 at 16:05
  • @Won't Still I'd rather like to see this implemented before the possible CommonMark implementation in 2 years. – Christian Rau Sep 25 '14 at 16:21

How about terminating the line with a double space?:

1) This works
2) This is on the next line I swear..oh yes it is!
3) Woo look at me!

  • 4
    That would require a double space, which ends up costing about as much effort as going back to replace the parens with a period. Besides, you don't have to doublespace for lists, and I'm constructing a list. – Won't Feb 17 '10 at 13:45
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    And your list is now not marked up properly. – Dominic Rodger Feb 17 '10 at 13:52
  • 1
    This doesn't work when list items run multiple lines. – Joel Coehoorn Feb 17 '10 at 13:59
  • @Joel - Works ok if you're not anal about indentation and that's a preference for some folks. – Kev Feb 17 '10 at 15:17
  • 1
    @Dominic - ok semantically it may be wrong, but human eye's are the primary consumer. It's a workaround and it works for now until/if they fix. – Kev Feb 17 '10 at 15:18

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