What are Semantic Elements?

A semantic element clearly describes its meaning to both the browser and the developer.

Examples of non-semantic elements: <div> and <span> – Tells nothing about its content.

Examples of semantic elements: <form>, <table>, and <article> – Clearly defines its content.

Semantic Elements in HTML

Many web sites contain HTML code like: <div id=”nav”> <div class=”header”> <div id=”footer”> to indicate navigation, header, and footer.

In HTML there are some semantic elements that can be used to define different parts of a web page:  

  • <article>
  • <aside>
  • <details>
  • <figcaption>
  • <figure>
  • <footer>
  • <header>
  • <main>
  • <mark>
  • <nav>
  • <section>
  • <summary>
  • <time>

HTML <section> Element

The <section> element defines a section in a document.

According to W3C’s HTML documentation: “A section is a thematic grouping of content, typically with a heading.”

A home page could normally be split into sections for introduction, content, and contact information.


  <p>The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is….</p>

HTML <article> Element

The <article> element specifies independent, self-contained content.

An article should make sense on its own, and it should be possible to read it independently from the rest of the web site.

Examples of where an <article> element can be used:

  • Forum post
  • Blog post
  • Newspaper article


  <h1>What Does WWF Do?</h1>
  <p>WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of our planet’s natural environment,
  and build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.</p>

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