How do I alphabetize a title that starts with a number in my works-cited list?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.
When you alphabetize your works-cited list, treat numbers in titles as though they were spelled out.
Let’s say, for example, you need to alphabetize entries for George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984, along with two entries for lyrics to songs by Radiohead thought to be inspired by Orwell’s novels, “2 + 2 = 5” and “Optimistic.” Treat 1984 as Nineteen Eighty-Four and “2 + 2 = 5” as “Two plus Two Equals Five,” and alphabetize the entries by their titles accordingly:
Orwell, George. Animal Farm: A Fairy Story. 1946. Plume, 2003.
—. 1984. 1949. Introduction by Julian Symons, Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.
Radiohead. “Optimistic.” MetroLyrics, CBS Interactive, 2016, www.metrolyrics.com/optimistic-lyrics-radiohead.html.
—. “2 + 2 = 5.” MetroLyrics, CBS Interactive, 2016, www.metrolyrics.com/2-2-5-lyrics-radiohead.html.
If there is no author and the entry begins with the title, you would follow the same principle.