Chicago Style Workout 30: General Rules of Alphabetizing

Best Foot Forward!

This month’s workout, “General Rules of Alphabetizing,” is taken from CMOS 17, sections 16.62–70. Advanced editors might tackle the questions cold; learners can study sections 16.62–70 of the Manual before answering the questions.

Subscribers to The Chicago Manual of Style Online may click through to the linked sections of the Manual. (For a 30-day free trial of CMOS Online, click here.)

Note: Style guides sometimes disagree. These questions are designed to test knowledge of The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition.

Chicago Style Workout 30: General Rules of Alphabetizing (CMOS  16.62–70)

1. When a person, a place, and a thing have the same name, they are arranged in normal alphabetical order.

hoe, garden
Hoe, Robert
London, England
London, Jack

a.  
b.  
2. When multiple persons, places, or things are listed, list the persons together.

London (England)
London, Amy
London, Jack

a.  
b.  
3. Initials used in place of a given name come before a spelled-out name beginning with the same letter.

Oppenheimer, K. T.
Oppenheimer, Katharine S.

a.  
b.  
4. Acronyms, initialisms, and most abbreviations are alphabetized according to their spelled-out versions.

NOW (National Organization for Women)
NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
North Pole

a.  
b.  
5. An at sign (@), which normally can be treated like the letter a, may be ignored as part of a screen name.
a.  
b.  
6. Isolated entries beginning with numerals are alphabetized as though spelled out.

1984 (Orwell) [alphabetized as nineteen eighty-four]
125th Street [alphabetized as one hundred twenty-fifth street]
10 Downing Street [alphabetized as ten downing street]

a.  
b.  
7. If many numerals occur in an index, they may be listed together in numerical order at the beginning of the index, before the As.
a.  
b.  
8. When two or more similar headings with numerals occur together, they are ordered as though they were spelled out.

section 44 [alphabetized as forty-four]
section 9 [alphabetized as nine]
section 77 [alphabetized as seventy-seven]

a.  
b.  
9. Introductory articles, prepositions, and conjunctions are disregarded in alphabetizing subentries, whether the subentries are run in or indented.

Churchill, Winston: as anti-Fascist, 369; on Curzon line, 348, 379; and de Gaulle, 544n4

a.  
b.  
10. It’s fine to use numerical order for some subentries, even if other entries in the same index (but not the same entry) are alphabetized.
a.  
b.  

 

Photo: Brig. Gen Garret Harencak, 509th Bomb Wing Commander, uses the elliptical machine. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Stephen Linch).

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