The <em> tag specifies a text that has stress emphasis. Browsers display the text within this tag in italic.

The <em> tag is an element of logical markup in contrast to the <i> tag, which has the same visual effect (italic), but at the same time, doesn’t carry a semantic load.

The <em> tag is not deprecated, but it is possible to achieve richer effects with CSS font-style property .

The <em> tag is considered to be a phrase tag, which points out that a section of the text has a structural meaning.


The <em> tag comes in pairs. The content is written between the opening (<em>) and closing (</em>) tags.

Example of the HTML <em> tag:

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <title>Title of the document</title>
    <p>It is a normal paragraph</p>
    <p>The important part of the text is highlighted by the <em> in italic</em>.</p>


em tag example

The difference between the <em> and the <i> tags

The <em> and <i> tags are usually confused, because they create similar results because both of them italicize the text. However, the results are the same only visually. The <em> element specifies the text that has stress emphasis, while the <i> tag defines a part of the text in a different voice. It is usually used to define technical terms, phrases from foreign languages, etc.


The <em> tag supports the Global Attributes and the Event Attributes.

How to style <em> tag?

Common properties to alter the visual weight/emphasis/size of text in <em> tag:

  • CSS font-style property sets the style of the font. normal | italic | oblique | initial | inherit.
  • CSS font-family property specifies a prioritized list of one or more font family names and/or generic family names for the selected element.
  • CSS font-size property sets the size of the font.
  • CSS font-weight property defines whether the font should be bold or thick.
  • CSS text-transform property controls text case and capitalization.
  • CSS text-decoration property specifies the decoration added to text, and is a shorthand property for text-decoration-line, text-decoration-color, text-decoration-style.

Coloring text in <em> tag:

  • CSS color property describes the color of the text content and text decorations.
  • CSS background-color property sets the background color of an element.

Text layout styles for <em> tag:

  • CSS text-indent property specifies the indentation of the first line in a text block.
  • CSS text-overflow property specifies how overflowed content that is not displayed should be signalled to the user.
  • CSS white-space property specifies how white-space inside an element is handled.
  • CSS word-break property specifies where the lines should be broken.

Other properties worth looking at for <em> tag:

Browser support

chrome edge firefox safari opera

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