To alphabetize the state capitals, divide them by their first letter. When a group of capitals begins with the same letter, look at the second letter - or the third or fourth when letters continue to match - to determine the order in which to put them.
From a list of state capitals, locate the ones beginning with the letter A: Atlanta, Augusta, Annapolis, Albany and Austin. Considering the second letter of each capital, Albany comes first, followed by Annapolis and Atlanta. To alphabetize Augusta and Austin, both of which have the same second letter, check the third letter. "G" comes before "s," so Augusta precedes Austin. Do the same for each letter as it appears in the alphabet.