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Re: Cleaning House

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Mon, 7 May 2007 00:06:34 -0700
Message-Id: <624792EA-AA36-47E9-9BCB-95CE9921F4FC@apple.com>
Cc: Philip & Le Khanh <Philip-and-LeKhanh@Royal-Tunbridge-Wells.Org>, public-html@w3.org
To: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>

On May 6, 2007, at 11:00 PM, Jonas Sicking wrote:

> Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>> For HTML, there is no significant distinction in attested use  
>> between <em> and <i>. In practice they are used in the same kinds  
>> of contexts. However, there is a nominal difference in the spec.
> What do you base this on?
> I have seen <i> used for a range of things, most commonly to  
> indicate emphasis or to indicate quoting. In other words my  
> experience has been that people use it when they want italics which  
> can be desired for a number of things.
> OTOH I haven't seen <em> used nearly as much so I can't really say  
> what people are using it for. The few uses I have seen though has  
> been by people that care about semantic correctness and has  
> explicitly wanted to indicate emphasis.

There are some WYSIWYG web editing tools that insert <em></em> when  
you hit the [/I/] button or otherwise select italics -- I believe  
DreamWeaver is one of them. This alone makes it pretty likely that  
there's a significant amount of content out there using <em> for non- 
italic emphasis. I suspect there are also some authors who use <em>  
in place of <i> always, because they've heard it's more semantic.

Better than arguing it in the abstract would be to do some sort of  
survey for how often <em> and <i> indicate non-emphasis italics.

Received on Monday, 7 May 2007 07:06:42 UTC

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