One critical capability of a stylesheet language is to locate source elements to be styled. CSS, for example, does this with "selectors." FOSIs do it with "e-i-c's", elements in context. XSLT does it with "match patterns" defined by XPath.
XPath has an extensible string-based syntax inspired, in part, by the common "path/file" file system syntax:
Matches all <para> children in the current context
Matches all <emphasis> elements that have a parent of <para>
Matches the sepchar attribute on the current element or any ancestor of the current element
Matches odd listitems in a numbered list.