Learn and Generate Bibliographies, Citations, and Works Cited

How to Put MLA Works Cited in Alphabetical Order

You finally finished your research paper and your sources have been created into entries. Now, you can start putting it all together. You’re almost done. Alphabetizing your MLA 8 works cited list is easy as it follows the letter by letter method. Read on to understand how this method works when you’re dealing with multiple authors, no author or other cases.

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List Items Alphabetically 

The first step is to list each item alphabetically by the author’s last name. Use the letters that appear before the commas that separate the last and first names of the author(s). If two or more last names are the same, then move forward to the first names.

Ignore spaces and other punctuation marks. Here is an example of basic letter by letter alphabetization of last names.

Descartes, Rene
De Stefa, Alonzo
MacDonald, Ronald
McCullers, Alvin
Morrison, Jim
Morris, Thomas
Morris, Zachary
Saint-Exupery, Antoine de
St. Anton, Beth

Ignore diacritical marks such as accents and special characters such as the @ preceding a username (@angelface). For example, the accented letter ś is the same as s and the letter n with a tilde ñ are considered the same.

Unknown Author

Alphabetize the entry by the title if the author’s name is unknown. Also, use the title if it’s published by an organization or if the work is a television show, film or other similar work. If the work focuses on a particular person, use that person’s name; otherwise, use the title.

Multiple Works and Multiple Authors

Student Alphabetizing MLA Works Cited List

What happens when you encounter single authors with multiple works? How about single works with multiple authors?

Single Author, Multiple Works

List the entries alphabetically by title.

Place three hyphens (—) in place of the author’s name in the second and subsequent entries, followed by a period.

Use the title to alphabetize works by the same author. Ignore his/her respective role in the production of the work. For example, if a person’s role is the writer on one work and the editor on another, disregard the role.

Do not substitute three hyphens for a single author who is also listed in another work with multiple authors. Type the author’s name out in full.

The three hyphens are usually followed by a period and then by the source’s title. If the person named performed a role other than creating the work’s main content, place a comma after the three hyphens and enter a term describing the role (editor, translator, director, etc.).

MLA works cited alphabetical order

Multiple Works by Coauthors

If two or more entries citing coauthors begin with the same name, alphabetize by the last names of the second authors listed.

Scott, Robert, and Robert Kinney
Scott, Robert, and Eric E. Rakim

To document two or more works by the same coauthors whose names appear in consistent order in the works, give the names in the first entry only. Then, in place of both names, type three hyphens, followed by a period and the title.

Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar, editors. The Female Imagination and the Modernist Aesthetic. Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, 1986.

—.”Sexual Linguistics: Gender, Language, Sexuality.” New Literary History, vol. 16, no. 3, Spring 1985, pp. 515-43. /STOR, www.jstor.org/stable/468838.

If the coauthors do not appear in the same order, record the names as found in the works and alphabetize the entries accordingly.

Alphabetizing by Title

When no author is named at the start of the entry, the title determines the placement on the works cited list.

Alphabetize letter by letter, ignoring articles A, An, and The, in any language. An Encyclopedia of the Latin American Novel would be alphabetized by E not A.  And alphabetize Le Theatre en France under T rather than L.

If the title begins with a numeral, alphabetize as though it was written out. 1984 should be alphabetized as Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Follow the Letter by Letter Alphabetizing Method

If you start feeling confused, just remember to follow the letter by letter alphabetizing method for your MLA citations in your works cited. Go back and re-read these rules and you’ll do just fine.

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FAQ How to Put MLA Works Cited in Alphabetical Order

How do you put a work cited page in alphabetical order?

To put a works cited page in alphabetical order, use the first listed author’s last name or organization title, ignore punctuation. Therefore, Albert comes before Brady, etc. If two last names are identical, look at the initials after the comma. For example, Brady, A. comes before Brady, B.

Do numbers go first in works cited MLA?

Numbers do not go first in an MLA works cited. In MLA format, you'll alphabetize numbers as if they were spelled out. So, 1Drive.com is alphabetized as if it said, 'one drive dot com.'

Do numbers go first or last in alphabetical order MLA?

Numbers do not go first or last in an MLA works cited. Instead, list numbers as though they were spelled out. For instance, 360.com is listed alphabetically as 'three hundred sixty.' So, alphabetize it in the Ts.

What does MLA works cited look like?

When it comes to looks, an MLA works cited has a standard format. First of all, the title ‘Works Cited’ is centered at the top. The citations are then listed alphabetically. Any citations going over into a second line have a hanging indent. An MLA standard entry has nine criteria, including author, the title of the source, title of the container, other contributors, version, number, publisher, publication date, and location. All entries end in a period.

How do you do MLA headings?

In MLA format, the headings are formatted based on your own personal preference. MLA format allows you to choose the style of headings you use, but you must remain consistent throughout the paper. All headings use title capitalization, but how they are italicized and placed in the paper will vary.

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  • Regarding the alphabetizing of movies, say I am putting in alphabetical order “Do The Right Thing” and “Doctor Zhivago.” Which would go first? I was taught many years ago that the word “Do” would place that movie ahead of the movie starting with “Doctor.” Am I right or wrong?

  • Descartes, Rene
    De Stefa, Alonzo
    MacDonald, Ronald
    McCullers, Alvin
    Morrison, Jim xxxxx
    Morris, Thomas
    Morris, Zachary
    Saint-Exupery, Antoine de
    St. Anton, Beth

    Dear Adrienne,

    Thanks for your great job.
    Kindly advise about the right order of the above authors?

    Have a great day ahead.