[whatwg] whatwg Digest, Vol 33, Issue 90

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis bhawkeslewis at googlemail.com
Fri Dec 29 04:29:45 PST 2006

Anne van Kesteren wrote:
> They are defined as being different. The former represents emphasis and  
> the latter importance.

That's a hopeless distinction (nor IMHO do the longer descriptions in
the draft adequately explain when to use one and when to use the other:
the use-cases look interchangeable to me). 

OED Online (subscription-only) defines "emphasis" as: "Stress of voice
laid on a word or phrase to indicate that it implies something more
than, or different from, what it normally expresses, or simply to mark
its importance." Mirriam-Webster defines "emphasis" as: "force or
intensity of expression that gives impressiveness or importance to


Thus "stress emphasis" is merely a presentational effect to give
importance to something.

It's bizarre that the same draft fighting so hard for an unworkable
distinction between <em/> and <strong/> also abolishes a potentially
useful distinction between acronyms (pronounced as a single word) and
other abbreviations.

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis

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