I am working on a data modeling project involving an SEC rule and am struggling to deduce the proper vocabulary when referring to the various outline levels of the document. For example, at the top of page 532 of the rule is Item 1 of schedule AL. Beneath Item 1 is (a)(1) and (a)(2), which I am able to deduce are referred to as "paragraphs". My question, however, is what is the name of (a)?

E.g. if I wanted to say "in Item 1, [______] a, there are two paragraphs, 1 and 2. What word would take the place of the blank?


Paragraph (a) is also called a "paragraph."

Unless a document establishes a specific naming convention, each level is typically referred to as a "paragraph."

As to the SEC, the Commission tends to apply the "paragraph" convention. In the document you reference, this can be seen most concisely on page 508, where the language separately references "paragraph (a)(1)(iii)(B)," "paragraphs (a)(5)(iii) and (a)(7)," and "paragraph (l)." The remainder of the document is likewise consistent in failing to vary its diction by level. Compare, for example, page 296 note 871 (discussing "paragraph (d)(6)(iii) of Securities Rule 433"), with page 428 (discussing "[p]aragraph (j)" of Rule 15c2-8).


In addition to "paragraph", the SEC (and many organizations, both governmental and not) also uses "subparagraph": see this SEC rule document filing from 2009 or s. 15E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

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