Poking around in the Lists options in TextEdit, the text-editor / word-processor that comes with every Mac, I was baffled by this drop-down box. What might it mean to “Prepend enclosing list marker”?
Prepend, I immediately discovered, is unmentioned in TextEdit’s Help file, which has little to say about lists at all. The word appears in neither the Mac’s New Oxford American Dictionary nor Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate. In Webster’s Third New International, the word means “consider, premeditate.” It’s the Oxford English Dictionary for the win, supplementing the word’s older meanings — “To weigh up mentally, ponder, consider; to premeditate” — with a more recent one: “trans. To add at the beginning, to prefix, prepose; esp. to add or append (a character, string, file, etc.) at the front of an existing string, file, etc.”
Further digging: Apple’ documentation says that
NSTextListPrependEnclosingMarker “Specifies that a nested list should include the marker for its enclosing superlist before its own marker.” One software developer notes, dryly, “We are confident that someone will find this useful.”
Well, I have: I’ve made a post about it. But I’ve made various lists, with and without the box checked, and I still cannot figure out what an enclosing list marker is and what difference prepending one might make. I wonder if any TextEdit user does.
Update, 10:39 a.m.: Someone does! An explanation may be found in the comments. Thanks, Arne.