This question is different from the one that's already asked here. I'm asking about the levels here.

About research: Trust me...the Internet gave me up to nineteenthly and to be frank, I then stopped searching for it. Let experts here put a bee in bonnet!

  • What's "the Internet"? Searching COCA for firstly through nineteenthly, I find 384, 3361, 418, 37, 6, 3, 1, 2, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0 results. (Yes, secondly is surprisingly popular! It's also the most popular in the sequence in the BNC, though the difference is less pronounced.) – snailplane Nov 21 '13 at 5:33
  • @snailboat I remember that the word Internet takes the definite article 'the' and the first letter ('I') is capitalized. Correct me if I'm wrong. In addition, you couldn't find anything beyond tenthly but then here is 'eleventhly' on Collin's English Dictionary: collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/eleventhly – Maulik V Nov 21 '13 at 6:00
  • Oh, there's nothing wrong with that, although not everyone capitalizes internet these days. And yes, I know what the internet is. But the internet is not a thing that gives you words, and referring to Google or other sites as the internet is only acceptable in informal contexts. And while I don't mind informality, it's helpful to be a little more specific on a site like this ;-) – snailplane Nov 21 '13 at 6:05
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    By the way, the COCA results I posted do not imply that eleventhly and on are not words. Please read Corpus danger: the era of Brian for an amusing account of the dangers of too quickly jumping to conclusions based on corpus evidence. – snailplane Nov 21 '13 at 6:14

This purely my subjective point of view. Other people will have other preferences. There is no "right" answer to your question.

If you're writing for an English exam such as Cambridge FCE or CAE levels, please stop after third or thirdly. I've read fourth and fourthly in papers (and elsewhere), and that for me is teetering dangerously on "boring" and "mechanical".

To list a series of points or observations in an essay, a paper, or a formal letter you can start with either First or Firstly; then second or secondly and then use a different discourse marker such as :

  • (to contrast) on the other hand; nevertheless; however;
  • (to compare) similarly; likewise; in comparison
  • (to add) furthermore; in addition; moreover.
  • (to conclude) finally or lastly.
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    And don't forget this standby: the numbered list. I would certainly use a numbered list before I said, "Ninthly, we have the lorem ipsum..." – J.R. Nov 21 '13 at 23:49

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