How to Alphabetize Business Names

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In elementary school, students learn the process of alphabetization. The order that alphabetizing names brings to an office setting or even in your home life can keep your files, whether physical or on a computer, organized and easy to find. Yet, even the most skillful alphabetizing professional may come upon a predicament that involves different kinds of names needing organization. Business names, in particular, may become harder to alphabetize if you don’t have all of the rules of this process at your disposal.

Remember the basic rules of alphabetization. With a group of names, you will want to organize them according to which letters appear first. A name that starts with the letter B follows a name that starts with the letter A. With names that start with the same letter, order the names according to the second letter. For instance, if you have both “Banks” and “Brewer,” place “Banks” before “Brewer.” Similarly, if you have the names “Thames” and “Thewlis,” place “Thames before “Thewlis.” This pattern continues down the line and across hyphens and spaces. Also, organize numerals according to their place when spelled out. For the number 41, you would spell out the numeral “forty-one” and alphabetize it accordingly.

Organize a business name that includes the owner’s name with his last name first. For instance, a company called “John Smith International” will need to be ordered as “Smith John International.” The only exception to this rule is when the business name is so well known as is that to organize it a different way would cause confusion.

Alphabetize a business name that has two or more surnames in its title by organizing it as written. For example, “Rogers, Smith and Co” should use the first word as the starting point for the process of alphabetization.

Spell out company names that use abbreviations. For example, if you have a company called “LA Fireworks,” spell out “Los Angeles” and organize it accordingly.

Ignore apostrophes in business names. If you have a name like “Women’s Fitness,” organize the name according to the spelling without the punctuation present.

Place articles that start a name such as “the” and “A” at the end of the name, so that a company name like “The Tire Company” will rearrange its words to “Tire Company The.” Ignore prepositions like “of” and “on” unless they begin the name. Also, ignore conjunctions like “and” and “or.”

Rearrange business names according to the significant location in their name. For instance, “Hotel Dublin” rearranges to “Dublin Hotel,” and “First Bank of Tallahassee” is ordered to “Tallahassee First Bank.”

About the Author

Gerri Blanc began her professional writing career in 2007 and has collaborated in the research and writing of the book "The Fairy Shrimp Chronicles," published in 2009. Blanc holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature and culture from the University of California, Merced.

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