I have troubles understanding how punctuation works with quotes, it feels illogical and counter-intuitive.
I was reading an article about documentation and I came across this sentence during the part about grammar:
You need to understand the difference between “its” and “it’s;” between “there,” “they’re,” and “their;” and you need to understand why I’m putting the commas and semicolons in this sentence inside the quotes, not outside.
I did some research (there's already a question here but I got a clearer answer on grammarbook) and apparently, punctuation of the main sentence fits in the quotes. I could work with that convention, but I really don't understand it. Here's why :
The article said that:
"The placement of question marks with quotation marks follows logic (lol). If a question is within the quoted material, a question mark should be placed inside the quotation marks.
With the following examples:
She asked, "Will you still be my friend?" (question mark is part of the quotation)
Do you agree with the saying, "All's fair in love and war"? (question mark is outside the quotation)
So under certain circumstances (i.e. when you have no other choice), the punctuation of the main sentence shouldn't be between the quotes. That's fair, but now there's an exception you never really know. Why not place it outside all the time ?
Take the following sentence from the same article:
"Why," I asked, "don't you care?"
- How do we know if the original sentence was "Why, don't you care ?" or "Why don't you care ?" ? You can tell only with the context given in the article.
It's just so much easier when the punctuation of the main sentence is outside the quotes ! I'm not saying it's stupid or anything, I just can't put sense into it.
- Can you explain to me the logic behind it, how to know what the author meant when it's ambiguous, or why it's actually not ambiguous ?
(I know it's probably just rules I have to get used to but I feel like I'm missing a piece of the puzzle.)