[whatwg] <p> elements containing other block-level elements

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Thu Jul 14 17:51:03 PDT 2005

On Thu, 14 Jul 2005, dolphinling wrote:
> > 
> > A paragraph is typically a block of text with one or more sentences 
> > that discuss a particular topic, as in typography, but can also be 
> > used for more general thematic grouping. For instance, an address is 
> > also a paragraph, as is a part of a form, a byline, or a stanza in a 
> > poem.
> Without the content model change, that quote is good[1]. If the content 
> model is changed, though, it would seem to give <p> two meanings: a 
> standalone piece of text, and a grammatical paragraph. Only the first is 
> what it should be; the latter is unnecessary.

It only has one meaning, IMHO, namely "thematic grouping". A grammatical 
paragraph is one example of thematic grouping, but there are others, as 
noted in the text quoted above and in the examples near it. <p> is 
basically the simple element that is a level below <section>, IMHO.

I don't agree that <p> is or has ever been for marking up "a self- 
contained block of text" or "a standalone piece of text". I don't see that 
the text of a paragraph need be self-contained or standalone, and indeed, 
there are examples where it doesn't contain any text at all:

   <p>Bla bla bla</p>
   <p><img src="diagram-reiterating-bla-bla-bla" alt=""></p>

Note that the image here has no alt text; its alt text would in fact be 
exactly what the previous paragraph stated, the image being a redundant 

Another example:

   <p> <label> Comments: <textarea .../> </label> </p>

Certainly in this case the paragraph is not standalone.

Similarly, a byline isn't self-contained; it's meaningless without the 
content it is "bylining" (as it were).

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

More information about the whatwg mailing list