Writers discussing XML and its parent SGML have called upon a wide range of rhetoric and a menagerie of metaphors to try to explain what elements and attributes mean.
Elements and attributes don't mean anything. All they do is break up documents into cleanly identified chunks, and give those chunks names. This is a useful and good thing to do, but trying to figure out what it all means is best reserved for barroom discussions at conferences (in which context it is an extremely worthwhile pursuit.)
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