Have you ever wondered why periods and commas go inside quotation marks when using MLA style?
According to the MLA Handbook, page 88 states, “By convention, commas and periods that directly follow quotations go inside the closing quotation marks.” The MLA, which stands for Modern Language Association, Handbook is an international handbook that provides the proper fundamentals for understanding punctuation marks.
In 1959, William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White wrote The Elements of System. The book stated that “typographical usage dictates the comma be inside the marks, though logically it seems not to belong there.” This context style is traditional in the United States.
England’s style is to place commas and periods outside of quotation marks. This is because, in Britain, it is typical to use single quotation marks instead of double quotation marks. Some people prefer to follow the British style for comma and period placement, arguing that the American method is “inconsistent.”
The United States set periods or commas inside of quotations marks; however, England is the complete opposite. But the purpose of conventions such as punctuation mark placement is to provide common tools for understanding. Essentially, a person can use either the American or British style, it all mostly depends on the context and sometimes, where the person is living.