|Syntax and mark-up / Phrases|
The text element, introduced in DITA 1.2, identifies a snippet of plain text that has no other special meaning (or presentation requirement). It should only be used when no other semantic element is appropriate. The text element is almost identical to the ph element, but cannot contain nested semantic element in the way that ph can contain, for example, image elements.
At first look, there seems to be no reason for having an element to contain text that has no semantic meaning! However, there are special circumstances when the text element makes sense, and that's when some text needs to be distinguished from other text, and when no other elements are allowed. The most likely example of this is when some text needs to be transcluded with a conref into a place where other elements are not permitted.
Do not use text in a place where ph is valid.