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HTML How to Make a Website Creating HTML Content Use the Navigation Element

Mario Zampollo
Mario Zampollo
11,292 Points

why <li><a>... and not <a><li>?

Why should I code e.g.:

<li><a href="portfolio.html">Portfolio</a></li>

instead of

<a href="portfolio.html"><li>Portfolio</li></a>?

Is there a specific reason to nest the anchor tag inside the list item tag rather than the other way around?

Dave McFarland
Dave McFarland
Treehouse Teacher


Your HTML code wasn't showing up correctly. I fixed it in your post.

For the future, to put HTML/CSS/JavaScript in a forum post:

  1. hit return to create a new line and type three back tick characters ```

  2. hit return to create another new line and paste your HTML

  3. hit return and add three more back tick characters: ``` The back tick character isn't the same as the single quote -- ' -- mark; the back tick is located on the same key as the ~ on most keyboards.

Also to add correct color highlighting add the name of the language after the back ticks like this: ```CSS. Here's what CSS should look like in a forum post:

#gallery li {
  float: left;
  width: 45%;

3 Answers

Hi Mario,

The reason that the anchor tag goes inside of the list-item is because the list item is a block level element and the anchor tag is an inline element.

Block elements (like li tags - also div, p, ul, ol, etc) generally start and end on a new line.

Where as inline elements (like anchor tags - as well as span, strong, em, etc) are normally displayed without starting a new line and can be nested inside of block elements.

The html5 specification does allow the a element to contain block level elements. Previously not allowed in older versions.

The use case for this is probably if you have an advertisement or pricing table that is made up of multiple elements and you want the whole thing to be one big clickable link. You could then wrap the whole thing in anchor tags, provided there's no interactive content within. Previous solutions required javascript.

The technical reason for why we can't do the code posted in the question is because the html specification doesn't allow it. Browsers might happily render it (Note: I didn't test), but I don't think it will pass the html validator. Traditionally, browsers have been forgiving of the html we write.

The specification states that a ul or ol has to contain zero or more li or script supporting elements. No other element can be a direct child of a ul or ol.

Hi Mario..

because you first create an <ul> ,so you want tell the HTML this is my <li> then you can specify if it is link or not..

i hope this helps :)

Mario Zampollo
Mario Zampollo
11,292 Points

Sure! a list tag is what it is expected to follow right after a unordered-list tag. It makes sense. Thanks!