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If more than one source for a paraphrased idea is cited in a parenthetical citation, in what order do I list the sources?

If you paraphrase a single idea from more than one source and the sources are equally important, the order in which you list them is up to you. To be neutral, you might list them alphabetically: 

While reading may be the core of literacy, literacy can be complete only when reading is accompanied by writing (Baron 194; Jacobs 55).

But if some sources are more relevant to the idea than others, you might list the sources in order of relevance:

Scholars have long advanced the idea that political and economic forces undergird how narratives are shaped (Jameson; Poovey; Cohen). 


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Published 23 October 2018

When creating a sortable list of alphabetized titles, where should the initial article be placed?

In an index or sortable list of titles, MLA style follows the The Chicago Manual of Style, which recommends placing initial articles at the end of the full title (16.51). A Tale of Two Cities would appear as Tale of Two Cities, A. Note that titles in indexes do not include subtitles unless they are “essential for identification” (16.55). If a subtitle is included, the initial article should be placed at the end of the full title, not before the subtitle. 
In both indexes and works-cited lists, MLA style uses letter-by-letter alphabetization (MLA Handbook 2.7.1.).  . . .

Published 24 July 2018

How do I alphabetize several letters by the same author written to different recipients?

In a works-cited-list, when you list several letters by the same author to different recipients, alphabetize the letters according to the names of the recipients. For an example, see the letters from Thomas Hart Benton to Charles Fremont and Jessie Ann Benton Fremont in our post on citing unpublished letters.
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Published 8 March 2018

How do I alphabetize tweets in my works-cited-list?

Ignore symbols when alphabetizing. Thus, to alphabetize tweets in a works-cited list, ignore the @ and start with the first letter of the username:

Works Cited
@humcommons. “Did you know you can now upload your CV to your Humanities Commons profile? Well, now you know.” Twitter, 16 Oct. 2017,
@mlastyle. “Ode to Times New Roman; or, the MLA’s paper-formatting guidelines–now online for free:” Twitter, 16 Aug. 2017,

Read our earlier post to learn how to alphabetize entries that begin with a numeral.

Published 26 January 2018

When translating from a language that does not use roman characters, like Chinese, do I include the original characters or a transliteration? And how do I alphabetize titles of nonroman works?

In its publications, the MLA prefers to give the original characters (script) and a translation for titles and quotations; it also includes transliteration in some of its publications, especially those geared for nonspecialists. Nowadays all three elements can be useful to readers searching for a source on the Internet. Aside from this practical reason, we feel that using the original characters shows a respect for the foreign language that once was generally not shown in academic work.
In the text of your essay, include the elements in whatever order makes sense in your discussion. For example, there is more than one way to present an Arabic term:
matn (متن; . . .

Published 8 February 2017

How do I alphabetize a title that starts with a number in my works-cited list?

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.

Published 18 October 2016

I am citing two editions of the same novel. How do I order the entries in the list of works cited, and how do I distinguish the editions in the in-text citation?

Order the entries by the most important unique piece of identifying information. This is usually the date. You can list entries either in chronological order or the reverse as long as you are consistent in a given work:

London, Jack. Martin Eden. Macmillan, 1915.
———. Martin Eden. Penguin, 1984.
———. Martin Eden. Modern Library, 2002.

If two editions are published in the same year, order the entries alphabetically by the next most important piece of unique identifying information—for example, the last name of a contributor (such as an editor or a translator) or the publisher.

Published 14 June 2016

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