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This sentence was preceded by a <p>, which should be a blank line. This sentence was preceded by a <br>, which should be a line break. Both appear as line breaks.
I can double up those tags to get an actual blank line, but that's rather ugly. How Hard Could It Be to recognize Newline Newline in the text and Do The Right Thing?
Paragraph marks are instructions to the client (your browser, for example) that a new block of text is starting, and it should do whatever it needs to do to make that clear to you.
An "extra blank line" is a one choice that a client could make, but not the only one. If you want to force it to do that, for your own clarity of reading, then you can write a CSS fragment and configure your browser to use it.
In Firefox, the default behaviour is that paragraphs are separated by an extra half-line. Look closely at the interline spacing within each of these paragraphs, and compare that to the gap between successive paragraphs.
Line breaks are a presentation issue, or a content-based notation for literal text (such as software source code, poetry, etc.). Clients are discouraged from collapsing multiple line-breaks.
Forcing what you think is right on everyone else is part of what's wrong with all the "graphic designers" trying to use content-based markup for graphics.
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