FAQ: Selectors - Descendant Combinator

This community-built FAQ covers the “Descendant Combinator” exercise from the lesson “Selectors”.

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What is the difference between descendants and children in HTML?

In the following code,

<ul class='main-list'>  
<li> ... </li> 
 <li> ... </li>  
<li> ... </li>

is li a child or descendant of ul?

1 Like

The Child Combinator (>) only selects those HTML Elements that are direct children of a specified element.

While the Descendant Combinator selects all HTML Elements that are either children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and so on.


Thank you for that clarification, it is quite helpful.

Hello, guys! In this lesson for CSS I wonder what is the difference between selector orders (h2. destination VS .destination h5)? Why it works like this? What h5 is the descendant of?


Thanks for your help in advance!


It is important to note that the descendant combinator is different from the chaining elements.

For example, h2. a description would choose the h2 elements having a class of description.

.description h2 on the other and would choose the element has .description class and then style the h2 elements of the child of that element This helps in not having to add classes for every element.

So in your example, h5 is the descendant of the element containing a class of description.


Is it possible to specify more than one descendant?

For example, is it valid to have the following selector:

.heading h2 h3 {


to select for h3 elements that are the descendants of an h2 element that is the descendent of an element with .heading?

(Or, is it rather better to use a more specific selector, like id, to specify elements?)