This comment motivates the following.

Tagging grammar questions temporally (by centuries) aids users in finding the temporal period desired. For example, English grammar has certainly changed.

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  • A good way to know if a tag is a good one to have is to consider if you can imagine someone with expertise in that tag. What would experts in "18th century" look like? – M.A.R. Sep 17 '15 at 6:51

I don't consider it useful to specify a particular century on ELL, for maybe two reasons.

  1. The development of language is not usefully divided precisely by century lines. Rather, certain parts of it develop over decades and centuries, and later the approximate date of a turning point for, say, use of "nice" can be narrowed down. But that date range is seldom all that close to a century line.
  2. Learners neither know, nor need to know, much about the precise details of usage timelines beyond "this is in common use", "this sounds a bit old-fashioned", and "this is probably too old to be useful". Therefore, they will have great difficulty correctly using any such tags, either in their own questions or to search for them. This in turn means that answerers cannot rely much on the tags, except to the extent that they themselves apply them, which is pretty subpar.

Instead, it's better to use much more general tags, like . Tags like are dubious; on the one hand, they do represent a scholarly classification that is qualitative (and thus avoids the first problem), but on the other hand, they're technical jargon that isn't all that easy for a learner to guess correctly, so the second problem is still in full force.

In the question given, I'm not entirely convinced the usage even is archaic in the first place, so the tag — any such tag — seems dangerously premature. That said, misconceptions about what is or isn't archaic are reasonably on-topic, so I suppose it can stick around.

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    Should we be using the archaic tag for questions about whether something is archaic, or for usage that is actually archaic? (Assume for a moment that we can all agree on whether a particular use counts as 'archaic'.) – snailplane Sep 16 '15 at 23:56
  • @snailboat: I would say we should use it for questions in which concern over whether something is archaic is a substantial factor. That will generally cover both, except in cases of the second variety where it just doesn't matter. (Off-hand, there probably aren't too many of those, but I'm not prepared to say there's none.) – Nathan Tuggy Sep 17 '15 at 0:03

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