There are currently 353 questions tagged . I have no idea what it means, when it should be used, when it should not be used, or what value it adds to the site. Does anyone have it as a favorite or ignored tag? Can anyone clarify its purpose by posting an answer here and editing the tag wiki?

Alternatively, if you believe that the tag is pointless, then please upvote the answer below that calls for its burnination.


3 Answers 3


I don't think that the tag adds any value to the site and should be burninated (eliminated completely).

  • It's too general to add any information, and it doesn't have a description narrowing its focus.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 15:11
  • 1
    +1 I feel the same way about grammar and meaning; all questions are about grammar, meaning and usage. Commented Nov 4, 2014 at 20:17

So we now have even more questions tagged with - I think we should at least provide a usage guidance excerpt for it, but I'm unsure what it should say. Looking over the question list, the criteria for adding it seems to be if you ask 'how do I use' or 'what is the correct usage' or if you just feel like you don't have enough tags on your question.

Maybe we could start a draft under Tag wiki drafting zone?

I'm not sure how helpful it is, but a starting point might be the Oxford Dictionaries definition

The way in which a word or phrase is normally and correctly used.
Example: β€˜In everyday, non-technical usage the words have much the same meaning.’

That covers at least half of the question on the site. Maybe we could say to only use the tag if a more specific tag doesn't apply.


Usage is subcultural, so I'd suggest that it be split into separate tags for the common subcultures and carry on from there.

I've made this same suggestion in a discussion about what to do with the "acceptable" concept. "Acceptable" is a category of "usage", so they could be folded together. I suggested

  • usage: street -- the everyday usage that everyone understands even when it's not at all grammatical
  • usage: educated -- the usage common to people for whom clear, conventional language use is important, and
  • usage: subcultural -- as a catch-all to be broken out later (e.g. usage: medicine, usage: technical, etc.

I think there was more, too, but unfortunately, I can't now find that thread -- I'm apparently not very good at navigating around here!

  • Could you give examples of such sub cultural tags, as well as suggestions on how existing questions could be cleaned up? Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 16:25
  • I dislike the "in use" part. Tags (IMO) should be named so that they can be used to end the sentence "This question is about tag-name." These tags might make sense for a site like EL&U but I don't think these distinctions are useful as tags on ELL (although it is important when writing an answer to mention that a usage is particular to a certain flavor of English). These are awfully subjective categories to a layperson. I don't know what constitutes "street language" - Is rural slang included? I think these would add confusion and not a lot of value.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 17:20
  • Street language is what you hear in the street, rubbing elbows with a random set of people. Everyday speech, understood by all even if only used by some. If you don't like "in use", then "usage" would be okay.
    – MMacD
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 17:48

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