HTML <em> Tag

Topic: HTML5 Tags ReferencePrev|Next


The <em> (short for emphasis) tag is used to emphasize the text content.

The following table summarizes the usages context and the version history of this tag.

Placement: Inline
Content: Inline and text
Start/End Tag: Start tag: required, End tag: required
Version: HTML 2, 3.2, 4, 4.01, 5

Difference between <em>, <cite> and <i> tag

  • Typically all these tags are displayed in italic type, but carries different meaning. The <em> and <cite> tag provides semantic meaning about the text it contains, but <i> tag don't add any semantic meaning.

  • The <em> tag signifies emphasized content, whereas the <cite> tag indicates a citation or reference to another source. This differentiates <em> and <cite> from the <i> tag, which simply sets the font to italics.


The basic syntax of the <em> tag is given with:

HTML / XHTML: <em> ... </em>

The example below shows the <em> tag in action.

<p>This is an <em>important point</em> to consider.</p>
<p>This is one more <em>important point</em> to consider.</p>

Tag-Specific Attributes

The <em> tag doesn't have any specific attribute.

Global Attributes

Like all other HTML tags, the <em> tag supports the global attributes in HTML5.

Event Attributes

The <em> tag also supports the event attributes in HTML5.

Browser Compatibility

The <em> tag is supported in all major modern browsers.

Browsers Icon

Basic Support—

  • Firefox 1+
  • Google Chrome 1+
  • Internet Explorer 2+
  • Apple Safari 1+
  • Opera 2.1+

Further Reading

See tutorial on: HTML Text Formatting.

Related tag: <cite>, <i>.

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