Why is it that » valid for an alt atribute but » is not?

1 Answer 1


It depends on your doctype. In HTML 4 and 5, using named entities like » is perfectly valid. However, in XHTML you must use numbered entities like » - most named entities are invalid, except for ", ', <, > and &.

Note: the alt tag is irrelevant in this case, it allows the same textual content as outside of HTML tags.

Simplest solution in my opinion: switch to the HTML5 doctype - <!DOCTYPE html>. It forces standards modes in all browsers, is future proof and is dead simple to remember.

  • Interestingly the site this appeared in is HTML5
    – Toby
    Nov 15, 2011 at 15:16
  • In that case maybe it's a bug in the HTML5 validator; I believe it's still in beta at the moment. HTML5 itself is still changing regularly. Nov 15, 2011 at 15:19
  • 2
    @Toby don't trust what's written behind the hood, trust the specifications.
    – vdegenne
    Nov 15, 2011 at 15:21
  • 1
    I just checked the HTML5 spec for the img element and couldn't see anything specifying the format of alt text. Nov 15, 2011 at 15:25
  • @Oddant there is an argument though that in practice you need to trust how the browsers implement it - in an ideal world though, yes I would agree.
    – Toby
    Nov 15, 2011 at 22:14

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