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The HTML <p> element represents a paragraph. Paragraphs are usually represented in visual media as blocks of text separated from adjacent blocks by blank lines and/or first-line indentation, but HTML paragraphs can be any structural grouping of related content, such as images or form fields.

Paragraphs are block-level elements, and notably will automatically close if another block-level element is parsed before the closing </p> tag. See “Tag omission” below.

Content categories Flow content, palpable content.
Permitted content Phrasing content.
Tag omission The start tag is required. The end tag may be omitted if the <p> element is immediately followed by an <address>, <article>, <aside>, <blockquote>, <div>, <dl>, <fieldset>, <footer>, <form>, <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, <h6>, <header>, <hr>, <menu>, <nav>, <ol>, <pre>, <section>, <table>, <ul> or another <p> element, or if there is no more content in the parent element and the parent element is not an <a> element.
Permitted parents Any element that accepts flow content.
Permitted ARIA roles Any
DOM interface HTMLParagraphElement

Attributes

This element only includes the global attributes.

Note: The align attribute on <p> tags is obsolete and shouldn't be used.

Example

<p>This is the first paragraph of text.
  This is the first paragraph of text.
  This is the first paragraph of text.
  This is the first paragraph of text.</p>
<p>This is the second paragraph.
  This is the second paragraph.
  This is the second paragraph.
  This is the second paragraph.</p>

The result of this code is:

Styling paragraphs

By default, browsers separate paragraphs with a single blank line. Alternate separation methods, such as first-line indentation, can be achieved with CSS:

HTML

<p>Separating paragraphs with blank lines is easiest 
for readers to scan, but they can also be separated
by indenting their first lines. This is often used 
to take up less space, such as to save paper in print.</p>

<p>Writing that is intended to be edited, such as school
papers and rough drafts, uses both blank lines and 
indentation for separation. In finished works, combining 
both is considered redundant and amateurish.</p>

<p>In very old writing, paragraphs were separated with a 
special character: ¶, the <i>pilcrow</i>. Nowadays, this
is considered claustrophobic and hard to read.</p>

<p>How hard to read? See for yourself:
  <button data-toggle-text="Oh no! Switch back!">Use pilcrow for paragraphs</button>
</p>

CSS

p {
  margin: 0;
  text-indent: 3ch;
}

p.pilcrow {
   text-indent: 0;
   display: inline;
}
p.pilcrow + p.pilcrow::before {
  content: " ¶ ";
}

JavaScript

document.querySelector('button').addEventListener('click', function (event) {
  document.querySelectorAll('p').forEach(function (paragraph) {
    paragraph.classList.toggle('pilcrow');
  });
  var newButtonText = event.target.dataset.toggleText;
  var oldText = event.target.innerText;
  event.target.innerText = newButtonText;
  event.target.dataset.toggleText = oldText;
});

Result

 

Accessibility concerns

Breaking up content into paragraphs helps make a page more accessible. Screen-readers and other assistive technology provide shortcuts to let their users skip to the next or previous paragraph, letting them skim content like how white space lets visual users skip around.

Using empty <p> elements to add space between paragraphs is problematic for people who navigate with screen-reading technology. Screen readers may announce the paragraph's presence, but not any content contained within it — because there is none. This can confuse and frustrate the person using the screen reader.

If extra space is desired, use CSS properties like margin to create the effect:

p {
  margin-bottom: 2em; // increase white space after a paragraph
}

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
HTML Living Standard
The definition of '<p>' in that specification.
Living Standard No change since the latest W3C snapshot HTML5
HTML5
The definition of '<p>' in that specification.
Recommendation align attribute is obsolete
HTML 4.01 Specification
The definition of '<p>' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition

Browser compatibility

Update compatibility data on GitHub
DesktopMobile
ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge MobileFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic supportChrome Full support YesEdge Full support YesFirefox Full support 1IE Full support YesOpera Full support YesSafari Full support YesWebView Android Full support YesChrome Android Full support YesEdge Mobile Full support YesFirefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support Yes

Legend

Full support  
Full support

See also