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Certified HTML Designer Learning Resources Elements, tags and Attributes

Learning Resources

Elements, tags and Attributes

HTML elements

An element in HTML represents some kind of structure or semantics and generally consists of a start tag, content, and an end tag. The following is a paragraph element:


    This is the content of the paragraph element.

HTML tags
Tags are used to mark up the start and end of an HTML element.

A start tag consists of an opening angle bracket (<) followed by the element name, zero or more space separated attribute/value pairs, and a closing angle bracket (>).

A start tag with no attributes:


A start tag with an attribute:


End tags consist of an opening angle bracket followed by a forward slash, the element name, and a closing angle bracket:


There are also some elements that are empty, meaning that they only consist of a single tag and do not have any content. In HTML, such tags look just like opening tags:


The syntax is slightly different in XHTML. Empty elements must either have an end tag or the start tag must end with />. In order to ensure backward compatibility with HTML the most common way of writing empty elements in XHTML is to use minimised tag syntax with a space before the trailing />:


HTML attributes
An attribute defines a property for an element, consists of an attribute/value pair, and appears within the element’s start tag. An element’s start tag may contain any number of space separated attribute/value pairs.

The most popular misuse of the term “tag” is referring to alt attributes as “alt tags”. There is no such thing in HTML. Alt is an attribute, not a tag.

    A foo can be balanced on a bar by placing its fubar on the bar's foobar.