FAQ: Methods, Blocks, & Sorting - Sorting


This community-built FAQ covers the “Sorting” exercise from the lesson “Methods, Blocks, & Sorting”.

Paths and Courses
This exercise can be found in the following Codecademy content:

Learn Ruby

FAQs on the exercise Sorting

There are currently no frequently asked questions associated with this exercise – that’s where you come in! You can contribute to this section by offering your own questions, answers, or clarifications on this exercise. Ask or answer a question by clicking reply (reply) below.

If you’ve had an “aha” moment about the concepts, formatting, syntax, or anything else with this exercise, consider sharing those insights! Teaching others and answering their questions is one of the best ways to learn and stay sharp.

Join the Discussion. Help a fellow learner on their journey.

Ask or answer a question about this exercise by clicking reply (reply) below!

Agree with a comment or answer? Like (like) to up-vote the contribution!

Need broader help or resources? Head here.

Looking for motivation to keep learning? Join our wider discussions.

Learn more about how to use this guide.

Found a bug? Report it!

Have a question about your account or billing? Reach out to our customer support team!

None of the above? Find out where to ask other questions here!


I need some help with understanding the descending order with combined operator.

Why it will sort it in descending order if I use the {} brackets and not the sort method?

fruits = ["orange", "apple", "banana", "pear", "grapes"]

print fruits.sort! do |b, a|
    a <=> b

print fruits.sort! { |b, a| a <=> b }

the result is

["apple", "banana", "grapes", "orange", "pear"]
["pear", "orange", "grapes", "banana", "apple"]



The exercise suggests as an alternative, sorting with an if/else statement. I succeeded with the following:

fruits = ["orange", "apple", "banana", "pear", "grapes"]

fruits.sort! do |fruit1, fruit2|
  if fruit1 <= fruit2
    fruit1 = 1
  else fruit1 = 0
puts fruits

But I don’t really understand how this works (just as I don’t really understand how it works with <=>) Specifically, I haven’t wrapped my head around how the 2 “comparison values” (fruit1, fruit2) are then applied to an array of more than 2 values. I guess this is about the inner workings of the .sort! method & I’ll probably come to understand it better with time.


PS I’m also curious about melina84’s question (#2). Does puts / print only take the block if it’s on a single line? It worked when I modified melina84’s code as follows, running the puts after the sort block.

fruits = ["orange", "apple", "banana", "pear", "grapes"]

fruits.sort! do |b, a|
    a <=> b
puts fruits

fruits.sort! {|b, a| a <=> b }
puts fruits

The following use of parentheses also works, and seems to kinda support my theory:

puts (
  fruits.sort! do |b, a|
    a <=> b