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In English, it is suggested that any initial "a, an, the" be ignored when alphabetizing a list (of titles, for instance). Thus, the correct alphabetical order of (1) A Zebra, (2) An Elephant, and (3) The Cow is supposed to be:

The Cow
An Elephant
A Zebra.

Is there a similar rule for alphabetizing in Spanish, wherein leading articles (or any other leading words) should be ignored? What would be the correct alphabetical order of (a) un bebé, (b) una bebé, (c) los dedos, (d) la familia, y (d) el policia?

Thanks!

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  • 1
    @Lambie assume that the list is a list of book tittles that you need to alphabetize. Which order do you put them in? And I never suggested that you would drop the articles, merely that you would ignore them when alphabetizing your list.
    – ltcomdata
    Oct 30, 2021 at 18:34
  • Generally, books are listed by author, not title.
    – Lambie
    Oct 30, 2021 at 19:29
  • @Lambie Less humorously: many of the surviving libraries of this very day still file their fiction books by author. But if the same author happens to write several books (which are not part of a series) they are secondarily filed by the Title of a Book. And Microsoft's version of alphabetical order (which takes into account leading articles), is not the exclusive, nor the traditional, or even the correct alphabetical ordering, despite the fact that it has become almost universal.
    – ltcomdata
    Oct 30, 2021 at 19:47
  • Yes, then, you ignore the articles. But in writing, you tell the reader you are doing so. Whereas in a library, you would not.
    – Lambie
    Oct 30, 2021 at 19:49
  • 1
    I have answered the question. But here's the answer from Spain, from a library: bibliopos.es/… Without articles and so forth.
    – Lambie
    Oct 30, 2021 at 19:58

1 Answer 1

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According to the Wikilengua del español, they can be ordered in both ways, either by considering the initial articles or by putting them at the end.

Thus, you can opt for otros, Los or Los otros, which would go on the letter "O" or on the letter "L", respectively.

According to the guide linked by @Lambie, which corresponds to a transcription of the cataloguing rules of the Biblioteca Nacional de España, articles are not considered and are added at the end.

9.2.11 The main entries whose access point is the title, will be sorted taking into account that the first sorting field is the complete title from the first highlighted word.

Contabilidad de empresas
Contabilidad para dirección
Contabilidad y administración pública
Corrons Prieto, Luis
Curs bàsic de formació del comerciant
Curso de economía de la mediana empresa
Los Directores de grandes empresas españolas ante el cambio social
The Directory of british importers
The Directory of Church of England social services
El Greco
La Innovación industrial
Kolb, David A.
Manual de gestión personal
Schmitt, Alfred
O Seculo XIX em Portugal

Another source mentions the following rule:

in Spanish nouns it is customary to postpone the particles if there is a preposition and not to postpone the article if there is no preposition:

La Rosa, Gerardo

Olmo, Antonio del

The order is the one that corresponds to this form (La Rosa precedes Olmo).


Según la Wikilengua del español, pueden ordenarse de ambas maneras, tanto considerando los artículos iniciales como poniéndolos al final.

Así, puede optarse por otros, Los o por Los otros, que irían en la letra o y en la ele, respectivamente.

Según la guía enlazada por @Lambie que corresponde a una transcripción de las reglas de Catalogación la Biblioteca Nacional de España, no se consideran y se agregan al final.

9.2.11 Los asientos principales cuyo punto de acceso es el título, se ordenarán teniendo en cuenta que el primer campo de ordenación es el título completo a partir de la primera palabra destacada.

Contabilidad de empresas
Contabilidad para dirección
Contabilidad y administración pública
Corrons Prieto, Luis
Curs bàsic de formació del comerciant
Curso de economía de la mediana empresa
Los Directores de grandes empresas españolas ante el cambio social
The Directory of british importers
The Directory of Church of England social services
El Greco
La Innovación industrial
Kolb, David A.
Manual de gestión personal
Schmitt, Alfred
O Seculo XIX em Portugal

Otra fuente sugiere la siguiente regla:

en nombres españoles se acostumbra a posponer las partículas si hay una preposición y a no posponer el artículo si no va con preposición:

La Rosa, Gerardo

Olmo, Antonio del

La ordenación es la que corresponde a esta forma (La Rosa precede a Olmo).

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