HTML Tags <=> Markdown Quick Reference @ Write Kit

Tom Humiston tom at
Wed Aug 5 10:06:27 EDT 2015

On Aug 4, 2015, at 10:26 AM, Gerald Bauer <gerald.bauer at> wrote:
> thus, <i> before <em> e.g. less typing

They're not equivalent — there's far more difference than the amount of typing, and they ought not be considered interchangeable. _When used as intended, the em and strong units are almost always preferable over the i and b elements._

Fortunately, in most cases the elements produced by Markdown syntax are the appropriate ones; <i> and <b> can be specified explicitly in the rare cases where they're suitable.

From the spec:

> The [em element][1] represents stress emphasis of its contents.

> The [strong element][2] represents strong importance, seriousness, or urgency for its contents.

> The [i element][3] represents a span of text in an alternate voice or mood, or otherwise offset from the normal prose in a manner indicating a different quality of text, such as a taxonomic designation, a technical term, an idiomatic phrase from another language, transliteration, a thought, or a ship name in Western texts.

> The [b element][4] represents a span of text to which attention is being drawn for utilitarian purposes without conveying any extra importance and with no implication of an alternate voice or mood, such as key words in a document abstract, product names in a review, actionable words in interactive text-driven software, or an article lede.

In addition to those definitions, the spec has concise guidance on when, how, and why to use each element, as well as code examples of each.

In short, Gerald, in the guide you're preparing I wouldn't mention <i> and <b> in connection with Markdown's *em* and **strong** syntax, because they're really for something else.






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