The tag single-word-request has generated a minor bit of controversy in the past over at ELU, on the basis that such requests are often best answered by something other than a single word.

Especially where English Language Learners are concerned, I think that this tag might be even considered counterproductive to learning English. Very often the right equivalent to a foreign word, or the right wording for a particular concept, is not a single word at all. English abounds in constructions, and learners of English need to understand when to use a phrase instead of a single word.

Over at ELU the argument can be made that the questioner is an expert and has done enough research to understand that a single word is indeed what they require. But in ELL I'd argue that the questioner might not the best judge of whether a request can be fulfilled by a single word.

In short, I'd like to propose getting rid of single-word-request over here, and replace with something like word-request or phrase-request or word-choice.


3 Answers 3


I can understand there are languages that use a single word to express a rather complicate concept, but I cannot imagine a learner who, instead of asking for the correct expression to use, would explicitly ask for a single word.

As far as I recall, on EL&U was pointed out that questions tagged should not be taken too literally as meaning the OP wants a single word as answer. If that is the case, I think is a better choice as tag.

  • Should we then blacklist single-word-request?
    – Deco
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 4:44
  • 3
    It is not necessary, if the tag can be merged with another one, and made a synonym.
    – apaderno
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 13:49
  • Ah yes, of course
    – Deco
    Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 20:09

I'm a pretty rabid defender of single-word-requests over on ELU, but even I agree that here, the main tag should be , and should be a synonym. People assign way too much meaning to that "single", and it would be best to just nip that problem in the bud here.

  • I agree; nobody has enough rep to suggest a tag synonym yet, so it will have to be a (diamond) moderator. Commented Jan 28, 2013 at 17:07

Pretty valid point. I agree! And I believe "word-request" would come out as more neutral for the purpose.

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