Skip to main content

List vs Table vs Catalog vs Schedule vs Register vs Roll vs Roster vs Inventory

Listtablecatalogscheduleregisterrollrosterinventory denote a series of names or of items written down or printed as a memorandum, a record, or a source of information, but, because of wide differences in their range of application, they are not freely interchangeable.

List is the most comprehensive and the most widely applicable of these terms since it may or may not imply methodical arrangement (as in alphabetical or chronological order) and it may itemize units of various kinds (as persons or objects or facts or words or figures).

Table is also widely applicable, but it distinctively implies arrangement in an order that will assist the person who makes use of it in quickly finding the information he desires; consequently, it usually suggests presentation of items in columns, often, when the items are related or associated with each other, in parallel columns; thus, a table of weights may give in the first column an alphabetical list of the weights of all countries and add in the following columns, directly on a line with each of these names, the place in which it is used, its equivalent in American or British weights, and its equivalent in metric weight.

Catalog basically applies to a complete list or enumeration of all instances of a kind. The term is used more often of an informative itemized descriptive list (as of the books in a library, the works of art in a museum, the courses given in a university or college, or the articles for sale by a company). Because business, educational, and art catalogs often contain much other information of value, the term often loses its essential meaning of list, although these catalogs have usually for their main object the presentation of complete lists.

Schedule (see also PROGRAM ) applies especially to an itemized statement of particulars, whether it is appended to a document (as a bill or statute) to provide supplementary details or is separate.

Register is applicable primarily to the official book, parchments, or papers in which are entered from time to time names or items of a specific character, together with pertinent details, for the sake of maintaining a record. Since, however, these entries constitute not only a record but also a list or catalog, the term often more strongly suggests an official listing or enumeration than a series of entries.

Roll is applicable to a list and especially an official list of the names of those who belong to a certain group or force; thus, a muster roll include the names of all the officers and men of a military body or of a ship’s company present or accounted for on the day of muster; a class roll is a list of all students belonging to a class.

Roster, which is chiefly a military term, applies basically to a table containing a roll of officers and men or sometimes of units and specifying such matters as the order of their rotation in duties or their special assignments.

Inventory is a catalog of the goods and chattels, and sometimes the real estate held by a person or a corporation at a particular time (as at the person’s death or at the stocktaking of the corporation).

In extended use the term often refers to a list similar in its details to those of a true inventory.