HTML <p> Tag

The HTML <p> tag represents a paragraph in an HTML document.

Paragraphs are usually rendered with a space between each paragraph, but this is dependent on the user agent/browser. Browsers do not necessarily need to render such a space, however, this is the normal convention.

The <p> tag should only be used when there is no other, more appropriate tag to use. For example, the <address> tag is more suitable for providing an article's contact details, and the <footer> tag is better for most footer content.


The <p> tag is written as <p></p> with the paragraph text inserted between the start and end tags.

Like this:


Basic tag usage

Inside Other Elements

The <p> tag is classified as "flow content" (and "palpable content"), which means that it can appear anywhere "flow content" is expected. Here's an example of the <p> tag being used within a <blockquote> tag.

List Elements & the <p> Tag

List elements cannot be children of a <p> element. Therefore, you cannot place <ul> or <ol> tags inside the <p> tag.

Here are two methods for dealing with lists within a sentence.

Multiple <p> Tags

One option is to close the first <p> tag before the list, then open a new one after the list.

Use <div> Tags

Another option is to nest the whole sentence (including the list) within <div> tags. This is fine because <div> elements can accept <ul> or <ol>.

This is more suitable if you need to separate your paragraphs into logical groups (for example, for styling purposes).


Attributes can be added to an HTML element to provide more information about how the element should appear or behave.

There are 3 kinds of attributes that you can add to your HTML tags: Element-specific, global, and event handler content attributes.

The <p> element accepts the following attributes.

Element-Specific Attributes

This table shows the attributes that are specific to the <p> tag/element.


Global Attributes

The following attributes are standard across all HTML5 elements. Therefore, you can use these attributes with the <p> tag , as well as with all other HTML tags.

For a full explanation of these attributes, see HTML 5 global attributes.

Event Handler Content Attributes

Event handler content attributes enable you to invoke a script from within your HTML. The script is invoked when a certain "event" occurs. Each event handler content attribute deals with a different event.

Below are the standard HTML5 event handler content attributes.

Again, you can use any of these with the <p> element, as well as any other HTML5 element.

For a full explanation of these attributes, see HTML 5 event handler content attributes.

Differences Between HTML 4 & HTML 5

HTML5 does not support the align attribute, which is supported in HTML 4. Use the CSS text-align property instead.

To see more detail on the two versions see HTML5 <p> Tag and HTML4 <p> Tag. Also check out the links to the official specifications below.


Here's a template for the <p> tag with all available attributes for the tag (based on HTML5). These are grouped into attribute types, each type separated by a space. In many cases, you will probably only need one or two (if any) attributes. Simply remove the attributes you don't need.

Note that the <p> element does not actually have any local attributes (i.e. attributes that are specific to the element), but the following global attributes and event handlers are available to the element (and all other HTML elements).

For more information on attributes for this tag, see HTML5 <p> Tag and HTML4 <p> Tag.

Tag Details

For more details about the <p> tag, see HTML5 <p> Tag and HTML4 <p> Tag.


Here are the official specifications for the <p> element.

What's the Difference?

W3C creates "snapshot" specifications that don't change once defined. So the HTML5 specification won't change once it becomes an official recommendation. WHATWG on the other hand, develops a "living standard" that is updated on a regular basis. In general, you will probably find that the HTML living standard will be more closely aligned to the current W3C draft than to the HTML5 specification.