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This template makes it faster and easier to apply [X]HTML's <em>...</em> emphasis markup to text, and more importantly to indicate to human and bot editors they should not use ''...'' or <i>...</i> typographic italicization to replace the intentional and semantically meaningful <em>. Strong emphasis is usually rendered visually in an italic (oblique a.k.a. slanted) typeface by default on graphical browsers, but can be parsed and acted upon in customizable ways with style sheets, apps and text-to-speech screen readers. It is said to be semantic markup, i.e. markup that conveys meaning or context, not just visual appearance. Simple italicizing is purely typographic and is semantically meaningless. It is most often used for titles publications (books, films, albums, etc.), foreign words and phrases, words as words (when quotation marks are not used for that purpose), names of ships, scientific names of organisms and other cases where stylistic conventions demand italics, but they convey no sense of emphasis. The average reader, and average editor, do not and need not care about this distinction most of the time, but it can be important and editors who understand it can use this template as a baseline insurance against accidental or careless replacement by bots and human editors.


{{em|text to be emphasized}}

or, if the text to be emphasized contains an equals sign:

{{em|1=text to be emphasized}}

These both render as:

text to be emphasized

This template puts intentional and explicit <em>...</em> (emphasis) [X]HTML markup around the text provided as the first parameter. It is safest to always use the |1= syntax.

Optional parameters

Advanced HTML values can be passed through the template to the HTML code:

  • |class= takes a class name (or multiple class names, separated by commas); adds class="classname[s]" to the HTML code
  • |style= takes inline CSS input; addes style="CSS directive[s]" to the HTML code
  • |id= takes a valid, unique HTML id (must begin with an alphabetic letter); adds id="name" to the HTML code
  • |title= takes text, which cannot be marked up in any way, and displays it as a pop-up "tooltip" (in most browsers) when the cursor hovers over the span

Use cases

For more details on this topic, see Wikipedia:WikiProject Usability/Scannability.

This template is made to mildly emphasize an important word or phrase in a passage, in a way that is (unlike simply italicizing it) semantically meaningful markup. With this technique, the emphasized text stands out from the rest of the nearby text in most if not all visual browsers and some text-to-speech screen readers (which usually ignore purely typographic italicization), without strongly affecting scannability. It can also be parsed by user agents and other software as definitively indicating emphasis, not just some typographic boldface effect for appearance's sake. It should therefore only be used sparingly in articles, to highlight something being stressed (e.g., to represent strong vocal emphasis). Example:

  • "Contrary to reports, she was {{em|not}} dead after all."
    "Contrary to reports, she was not dead after all."

It is also occasionally used for disambiguation, e.g. between two adjacent but different uses of the same word or homonym ("What it is is a kind of custard.), but this usage is not often encyclopedic and can (when not found in a direct quotation) usually be rewritten to avoid the awkward construction.

When this template should not be used

Because {{em}} is strictly for semantic (meaningful) emphasis, it should not be used for layout, typography conventions (titles, foreign words, etc.), and other cases that are not true emphasis. In these different cases, italics wikicode ''...'' (which resolves to <i>...</i> in the browser or other user agent) should be used instead (or special markup for a particular case, such as {{tlx|var|...}} or <var>...</var> for variables in computer science and mathematics). It should also not be used when the text to which it is applied is already italicized for some other reason (e.g., it is part of a book title); in such cases use {{strong}} instead. Usually avoid using {{em}} in non-quoted sentences that end in an exclamation point. And it is usually excessive to use it on terms that are already wikilinked, since the link markup acts as a form of emphasis itself.

But careful, {{Em}} is strictly for emphasis. It should not be used for layout, typography conventions, books and such. In these different cases, italics ''...'' or <i>...</i> should be used instead:

  • "The New York Times is an American daily newspaper." This example should use ''The New York Times'' or an equivalent.

See also

Template Example output Use
{{strong}} strong semantic emphasis To indicate <strong> emphasis instead of (or as well as) simple typographical boldfacing.
{{strongbad}} "Never use..." Same as {{strong}} but in red.
{{stronggood}} "Only use..." Same as {{strong}} but in green.
{{em}} mild semantic emphasis As per {{strong}} but for the milder <em> emphasis (instead of / as well as typographical italicization).
{{var}} strIllustratePrefix To indicate text is a variable name. Use for any variables except those whose names include "I" (uppercase i) and/or "l" (lowercase L), where {{varserif}} below should be used instead to ensure a distinction between these letters is noticeable.
{{varserif}} strIllustratePrefix (see {{var}} above).
{{wikivar}} {{PAGENAME}}  {{DEFAULTSORT:Y, X}} To display wikicode variables and magic words as they would appear in code.
{{para}} |title=  |year=2008 To display template parameters with or without values.
{{param}} {{{title}}}  {{{title|alt}}}  etc. To display parameters as used in code (i.e. with triple braces), especially to indicate relationships between them. May be combined with {{para}} above.
{{tlx}} etc. {{Template|first parameter|...}} To display a template call (with or without parameters and values) as code.
{{tag}} "With HTML <img>...</img> tags..." To render HTML elements ("tags") as prose.
{{code}} "Always include the alt= parameter..." To indicate text is source code. To nest other templates within {{code}}, use <code>...</code>.
{{syntaxhighlight}} (or {{sxhl}})  Wrapper for <syntaxhighlight>...</syntaxhighlight>, but will wrap overflowing text.
{{deprecated code}} "Do not use <blink>...</blink>..." (or {{dc2}})  To indicate deprecated source code in template documentation, articles on HTML specs, etc.
{{pre}} For larger blocks of source code and other pre-formatted text.
{{bq}} For indented blocks of content, such as block quotations, examples, poems, etc.
{{kbd}} user input To indicate user input.
{{key press}} CtrlX To indicate specific keystroke/s input.
{{pskeypress}} × To indicate PlayStation-style gamepad key presses.
{{samp}} example output To indicate sample or example output.