What are HTML tags?

  • HTML tags are used to mark-up HTML elements
  • HTML tags are surrounded by the two characters < and >
  • The surrounding characters are called angle brackets
  • HTML tags normally come in pairs like and
  • The first tag in a pair is the start tag, the second tag is the end tag
  • The text between the start and end tags is the element content
  • HTML tags are not case sensitive, <b> means the same as <B>

Logical vs. Physical Tags

In HTML there are both logical tags and physical tags. Logical tags are designed to describe (to the browser) the enclosed text's meaning. An example of a logical tag is the <strong> </strong> tag. By placing text in between these tags you are telling the browser that the text has some greater importance. By default all browsers make the text appear bold when in between the <strong > and </strong > tags.

Physical tags on the other hand provide specific instructions on how to display the text they enclose. Examples of physical tags include:

  • <b>: Makes the text bold.
  • <big>: Makes the text usually one size bigger than what's around it.
  • <i>: Makes text italic.

Physical tags were invented to add style to HTML pages because style sheets were not around, though the original intention of HTML was to not have physical tags. Rather than use physical tags to style your HTML pages, you should use style sheets.

HTML Elements

This is an HTML element: <b>This text is bold<b>

The HTML element begins with a start tag:<b>
The content of the HTML element is: This text is bold
The HTML element ends with an end tag: </b>

The purpose of the <b> tag is to define an HTML element that should be displayed as bold.