Quintilian, and J.S. Watson. Institutes of Oratory.Edited by Lee Honeycutt, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition. Book IV Chapter 5.
Book IV of Quintilian’s Institutes of Oratory closes with a discussion of “partition.” “Partition is the enumeration, according to their order, of our own propositions or those of our adversary, or both” (Quintilian IV.5.1). While some suggest that an enumerated list is always good, some warn against it as the speaker may accidentally re-order or miss points. Yet, within reason, it is normally useful. Quintilian does warn that a partition takes away the natural idea of impromptu speech (Quintilian IV.5.4). He goes on to illustrate several other situations where an enumerated preview statement may prove to confuse the speech or the audience. At issue is the primary goal of persuading the judge about the situation. Whatever claims may lead to that end are profitable (Quintilian IV.5.18). Avoiding redundancy and pursuing the outcome are primary tasks in making the argument (Quintilian IV.5.26).