[whatwg] Change description of em element

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Thu Aug 30 10:45:52 PDT 2012

On Wed, 27 Jun 2012, Joseph Mansfield wrote:
> The current semantic meaning of the em element may be confused with that 
> of the strong element. The specification states that the em element 
> increases the level of emphasis. There are, however, two definitions of 
> the word "emphasis":
> 1. Importance, value, or prominence given to something.
> 2. Stress laid on a word or words to indicate special meaning or
>    particular importance.
> While the specification does specify that the em element represents 
> "stress emphasis" - the form of emphasis that changes the meaning of a 
> sentence - the frequent use of the word "emphasis" alone may imply 
> importance. However, the strong element is responsible for importance. 
> Take the given example:
>     <p><em>Cats</em> are cute animals.</p>
> The cats are not important - they are stressed. Stress changes the 
> meaning of the sentence, while importance does not.
> To make this clearer, I suggest two options for changing section 4.6.2:
> 1. Keep the "stress emphasis" from the first sentence and replace all
>    other occurences of "emphasis" with "stress emphasis".
> 2. Replace occurences of "stress emphasis" and "emphasis" with simply
>    "stress". This, however, loses the attachment to the element name.

I've tried to make this clearer in the spec. Let me know if there's any 
cases that are still confusing in this manner.

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