|Contained in||Inline elements, block-level elements|
The I element suggests that text be rendered as italic text. In most cases, use of a phrase element such as EM, DFN, VAR, or CITE is more appropriate since these elements express the meaning of the text more clearly.
The I element is a suitable choice for marking a structure for which no phrase element exists. For example, foreign phrases and taxonomic names have no structural element in HTML 4, but italic text is often an appropriate visual rendering:
<H1><I LANG=fr>Chacun son goût !</I></H1>
<P>Some people prefer dogs--<I CLASS=species>Canis familiaris</I>--while others are eternal lovers of cats--<I CLASS=species>Felis cattus</I>.
Note the use of the CLASS and LANG attributes to add structural significance to the I elements. This allows greater flexibility when applying style sheets to different kinds of italic text.