Taking a look at tags, we have and (hell, we have too, probably created by mistake) and we also have and .

On one hand, classifying tenses like [tense aspect] tense is one of the commoner ; and on the other hand many learners may only be familiar with this kind of classification.

Should we have tags focusing on one aspect or tense or do we prefer the likes of the non-existent "tense" as our tags?

  • Shouldn't "tense" be enough? I think so.
    – Usernew
    Dec 31, 2015 at 12:55
  • Certainly not @Usernew! We have a lot of questions revolving around the subtleties of using aspects; "tense" is not terribly helpful.
    – M.A.R.
    Dec 31, 2015 at 12:57
  • hmmm.. that's something I overlooked. LOL :(
    – Usernew
    Dec 31, 2015 at 13:00
  • 2
    past can (and should) be blacklisted; as I write this there are no longer any questions with that tag. Dec 31, 2015 at 16:24
  • Gotcha @Stoney! What about the others?
    – M.A.R.
    Dec 31, 2015 at 16:26
  • Gimme a chance, dude; I'm working on it. Dec 31, 2015 at 16:27
  • 2
    In the (American) schools I went to, the grammar instruction (and introductory foreign language instruction) taught about "past tense", "present tense", "future tense", "progressive", "infinitive", "gerund", and maybe "past participle". "Hypotheticals" and "subjunctive" were discussed at some point, but in nowhere near the detail that it has been taught to many learners on this site. I don't remember whether the concept of "aspect" was taught at all. Therefore, I don't think it is reasonable to expect native speakers to distinguish between tense and "aspect".
    – Jasper
    Dec 31, 2015 at 17:05
  • 2
    The tags are starting to distinguish between concepts that many users (both native speakers and learners) are not familiar with. Good tag wikis would be especially helpful when explaining these concepts.
    – Jasper
    Dec 31, 2015 at 17:08
  • 1
    @Jasper You can't really expect native speakers to deal with any grammar terminology, though. The few things we learn in schools, we learn poorly.
    – user230
    Jan 2, 2016 at 1:27

1 Answer 1


I don't object too strenuously to past-tense and present-tense; though in my universe these aren't tenses but forms, there's a lot to be said for keeping the lines of communication open between the Young Turks and the Mustache Petes. Future-tense is more problematic, and I really dislike progressive-aspect and perfect-aspect; these again aren't aspects but constructions.

But really, are we going to get anywhere shuffling deck-tags on the Titanic? There's just too much overlap between tags and categories for there to be any hope of redeeming this random and corrupt system bottom-up, with local fixes and adjustments. Here's a (somewhat) organized list of the 80 tags we're dealing with around just verbs, with their use counts:

Verb tags on ELL

That's just tag salad. To my mind, what we should be doing is designing a good system of tags, and then do what it takes to implement that.

  • I think it's time we create a list of tags and sort the bad ones out, and create tags on the go. What do you think?
    – M.A.R.
    Jan 1, 2016 at 9:37

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