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Arranging Numbers in Works Cited List


Student Arranging Numbers in Works Cited List

After writing a school paper in MLA style, start formatting your works cited page. Hopefully, you’ve created a working or preliminary bibliography or works cited page as you did your research. Now you simply take your preliminary Works Cited page and start arranging it as required. One common question is whether numbers come before letters. The quick answer is ‘no’.

Follow these guidelines for placing numbers within your works cited page.

Arranging Numerical Entries in Works Cited

It is more likely you’ll have entries that can be easily alphabetized; however, on occasion, you may find a source that starts with a number. If the source has an author, cite it by the last name of the author
Orwell, George. 1984

If you have two works by the same author, alphabetize by the author’s last name, then the title of the book. If the title is a number, alphabetized it as though it’s spelled out:

Orwell, George. Animal Farm.

Orwell, George. 1984. (Nineteen Fourteen….)

Orwell, George. The Road to Wigan Pier. (Ignore The, start with Road)

If there is no author listed for an article published by an organization, use the name of the organization. If the organization’s name starts with a number, alphabetize as though it’s spelled out.

The Climate Realty Project. (ignore The)

350.org. (Three hundred fifty)

United Nations Foundation

Arranging Entries Alphabetically in Works Cited

MLA style follows the letter by letter style using the first data element. This may be the author, name of the organization or, in some cases, the name of the work. The entries are not put in a numbered list. Some basic rules for alphabetizing your works cited sources:

Authors, Editors and Translators

The author or creator of the work, such as the editor, is listed last name, first name.

If the source is from an organization, use the name of that organization

Ignore articles such as a, an, the, even in another language, such as le or la.

  • The Art Institute of Chicago
  • Las Hermanas Unidas
  • A Home For Dogs
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • La Raza Unida


If the title begins with a numeral, alphabetize as though it’s spelled out.

Following the basic rules of letter by letter alphabetizing makes organizing your MLA Works Cited page easier to do. Once you understand that numbers are spelled out for alphabetizing your sources, it becomes even easier to do.

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About the author

Adrienne Mathewson

Adrienne Mathewson, Editor-in-Chief of Bibliography.com, is an Information Professional with a Master’s in Library, Information & Science from San José State University with an emphasis on information literacy and scholarly publishing. She is a certified librarian through the State of New Mexico.

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