This is a snapshot of an early working draft and has therefore been superseded by the HTML standard.

This document will not be further updated.

HTML 5

Call For Comments — 27 October 2007

3.9. Prose

3.9.1. The p element

Block-level element.

Contexts in which this element may be used:
Where block-level elements are expected.
Content model:
Significant inline-level content.
Element-specific attributes:
None.
DOM interface:
No difference from HTMLElement.

The p element represents a paragraph.

p elements can contain a mixture of strictly inline-level content, such as text, images, hyperlinks, etc, and structured inline-level elements, such as lists, tables, and block quotes. p elements must not be empty.

The following examples are conforming HTML fragments:

<p>The little kitten gently seated himself on a piece of
carpet. Later in his life, this would be referred to as the time the
cat sat on the mat.</p>
<fieldset>
 <legend>Personal information</legend>
 <p>
   <label>Name: <input name="n"></label>
   <label><input name="anon" type="checkbox"> Hide from other users</label>
 </p>
 <p><label>Address: <textarea name="a"></textarea></label></p>
</fieldset>
<p>There was once an example from Femley,<br>
Whose markup was of dubious quality.<br>
The validator complained,<br>
So the author was pained,<br>
To move the error from the markup to the rhyming.</p>

The p element should not be used when a more specific element is more appropriate.

The following example is technically correct:

<section>
 <!-- ... -->
 <p>Last modified: 2001-04-23</p>
 <p>Author: fred@example.com</p>
</section>

However, it would be better marked-up as:

<section>
 <!-- ... -->
 <footer>Last modified: 2001-04-23</footer>
 <address>Author: fred@example.com</address>
</section>

Or:

<section>
 <!-- ... -->
 <footer>
  <p>Last modified: 2001-04-23</p>
  <address>Author: fred@example.com</address>
 </footer>
</section>

3.9.2. The hr element

Block-level element.

Contexts in which this element may be used:
Where block-level elements are expected.
Content model:
Empty.
Element-specific attributes:
None.
DOM interface:
No difference from HTMLElement.

The hr element represents a paragraph-level thematic break, e.g. a scene change in a story, or a transition to another topic within a section of a reference book.

3.9.3. The br element

Strictly inline-level content.

Contexts in which this element may be used:
Where strictly inline-level content is allowed.
Content model:
Empty.
Element-specific attributes:
None.
DOM interface:
No difference from HTMLElement.

The br element represents a line break.

br elements must be empty. Any content inside br elements must not be considered part of the surrounding text.

br elements must only be used for line breaks that are actually part of the content, as in poems or addresses.

The following example is correct usage of the br element:

<p>P. Sherman<br>
42 Wallaby Way<br>
Sydney</p>

br elements must not be used for separating thematic groups in a paragraph.

The following examples are non-conforming, as they abuse the br element:

<p><a ...>34 comments.</a><br>
<a ...>Add a comment.<a></p>
<p>Name: <input name="name"><br>
Address: <input name="address"></p>

Here are alternatives to the above, which are correct:

<p><a ...>34 comments.</a></p>
<p><a ...>Add a comment.<a></p>
<p>Name: <input name="name"></p>
<p>Address: <input name="address"></p>

3.9.4. The dialog element

Block-level element.

Contexts in which this element may be used:
Where block-level elements are expected.
Content model:
Zero or more pairs of dt and dd elements.
Element-specific attributes:
None.
DOM interface:
No difference from HTMLElement.

The dialog element represents a conversation.

Each part of the conversation must have an explicit talker (or speaker) given by a dt element, and a discourse (or quote) given by a dd element.

This example demonstrates this using an extract from Abbot and Costello's famous sketch, Who's on first:

<dialog>
 <dt> Costello
 <dd> Look, you gotta first baseman?
 <dt> Abbott
 <dd> Certainly.
 <dt> Costello
 <dd> Who's playing first?
 <dt> Abbott
 <dd> That's right.
 <dt> Costello
 <dd> When you pay off the first baseman every month, who gets the money?
 <dt> Abbott
 <dd> Every dollar of it. 
</dialog>

Text in a dt element in a dialog element is implicitly the source of the text given in the following dd element, and the contents of the dd element are implicitly a quote from that speaker. There is thus no need to include cite, q, or blockquote elements in this markup. Indeed, a q element inside a dd element in a conversation would actually imply the person talking were themselves quoting someone else. See the cite, q, and blockquote elements for other ways to cite or quote.