I second your assessment. I too was confused as to why a line break was needed as their use can badly break text on a webpage.
--- On Mon, 2/2/09, Greg Chapman <gregchapmanuk@...> wrote:
> I am confused by your question. You say you want to force a
> line break
> with the <br> tag, but complain that the <pre>
> tag forces a line
> break. There must be more to this problem that you have
> stated so far.
> (The <pre> tag is intended for certain kinds of text
> where lines
> endings are key, e.g. program code or poetry.)
> One problem with forced line breaks, using <br>, is
> that if a
> visitor's window is narrower than the one you design
> the page for
> then, on their machine, text can appear very broken with
> short lines, caused by the forced breaks.
> For the text of an essay it would be normal to place each
> within <p> tags. Browsers will then wrap the text
> within the block
> that contains the <p> tag, often this would be the
> full width of the
> visitor's window, whatever its size, but possibly
> narrower depending
> on what tags the <p> is contained in.
> Perhaps you have a page with an absolutely positioned image
> on it.
> That can create problems for wrapping text. To help we need
> to see the
> file. Either use one of the links above or upload the file
> to your
> site and povide a URL so that others can visit it.
> It may be better to follow up your question on the HTML
> list, if your
> initial question turns out to have been inappropriate.