Semantic HTML

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Semantic HTML is the use of HTML markup to reinforce the semantics, or meaning, of the information in webpages rather than merely to define its presentation or look. Semantic HTML is processed by regular web browsers as well as by many other user agents. CSS is used to suggest its presentation to human users.

As an example, recent HTML standards discourage use of the tag <i> (italic, a typeface)  in preference of more accurate tags such as <em> (emphasis); the CSS stylesheet should then specify whether emphasis is denoted by an italic font, a bold font, underlining, slower or louder audible speech etc. This is because italics are used for purposes other than emphasis, such as citing a source; for this, HTML 4 provides the tag <cite>. Another use for italics is foreign phrases or loanwords; web designers may use built-in XHTML language attributes  or specify their own semantic markup by choosing appropriate names for the class attribute values of HTML elements (e.g. class=”loanword”). Marking emphasis, citations and loanwords in different ways makes it easier for web agents such as search engines and other software to ascertain the significance of the text.

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