There are a group of tags, used to mark-up text styles, which split into two types: physical and content-based style tags. Physical style tags include B (bold), I (italic), SUP (superscript), SUB (subscript), and many more; these tags act physically on text exactly as they claim. Content-based style tags include STRONG (strong), EM (emphasis), CITE (cite/citation), etc; these tags represent what something MEANS, rather than what something looks like.
Whereas physical style tags impart a specific appearance to text that they mark-up, content-based style tags impart information regarding what that text is supposed to BE, or what it is used for. The fact that content-based style tags impart appearance characteristics to text is completely secondary.
"HTML and XHTML: The Definitive Guide", pp.76-89, discusses these tags in detail. I am simply going to touch upon the most commonly used tags from these two groups, and discuss pertinent details about them, from a professional-use standpoint.
All of these tags are used to mark text, usually within a paragraph, but occasionally on their own. They ALL must close.
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