Originally Posted by Toxaris
Actually, I don't really agree. Currently <em> displays as italic and <strong> displays as bold, but that might change later. It is semantic but says nothing about layout and is not consistent. It might be better to use a <span> tag and style that as italic or bold.
As for myself, this is one of the few exceptions where I let layout markers in my XHTML file, I still use <i> and <b>... I know it is depreciated, but I feel it has a better meaning.
<b> and <i> are not deprecated in html 5 according to w3schools. For a long time I used <i> and <b> because I just couldn't see the sense of using such a long <span> to indicate a style. Then I jumped on the separation of style and structure train.
Now I use <em> and <strong> with a css style - although the css is just restating the default value of most of today's devices/apps, it specifies how I want it to look so I don't rely on browser's default values.
It saves a lot of space in the html document, allows easy change in the future if someone wants to change the styling, and aligns with current standard practice.