I came across this question and answer earlier today. The question was good, and quickly received an answer. To summarize, a snippet from the question:

Can I always replace let go with leave go?

And the answer that was first posted, in its entirety:

Leave go for let go would not be recognized in America. It must be let go here.

The asker then responded with a polite comment, pointing out that they were only concerned with British English (and had tagged the question as such), therefore making the answer invalid.

Now here's what I'm thinking: I only noticed that the question had been tagged british-english when I read that comment. Clearly the person who posted that answer didn't notice the tag either, or of course they wouldn't have posted an answer referring only to American English.

It seems to me, then, that if a tag changes the answer to your question, it should be mentioned in the actual question text also. In the interests of collecting quality answers that actually answer the question, I think it would help if all relevant information is in the question text itself, not just in tags. Tags are useful for categorizing, but the question should speak for itself without them, in my opinion. Thoughts?

(As a side note: it almost seems like this phenomenon is the opposite of a meta-tag. A meta-tag is a tag we want to get rid of, because it doesn't categorize the question in a useful way, or add anything to it. This is a tag that we do want, but really need to have in the question, because it's not implied by the question alone--the answerer needs this information to respond.)

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    I agree. The question should contain all necessary information, and tags should only be used for categorization. You should be able to change any of the tags without destroying the question.
    – ctype.h
    Feb 28, 2013 at 0:27
  • To be honest, I've only the OP and tchrist's word for it that the usage is peculiarly British. Interestingly, an alternative USA title for the movie Street Sisters is "Don't Leave Go My Hand". I think that was actually the original title from the author, Afro-American playwright Arthur Roberson. So I don't see the British-English tag is necessarily reliable anyway. It's certainly not "definitive". Feb 28, 2013 at 4:54
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    @FumbleFingers Hmm, I think the accuracy of the answer might be beside the point; the OP was asking how the term was used in British English. Regardless of the answer to that question, it changes what the answer should be once you know the OP is only concerned with British English. The OP had to correct an answer referring to American English, saying "But I don't care about American English. See the tag?" Which the answerer clearly did not. So I think that information belongs in the question as well, not just in a tag. Am I making any sense? ;)
    – WendiKidd
    Feb 28, 2013 at 15:11
  • @WendiKidd: Logically what you're saying does in principle make sense. But the OP in question has what appear to me to be some odd ideas about the nature of dialectal variation, particularly as regards UK/US differences. Sure, it's kinda interesting to discover that certain forms are more common in one Anglophone country than another, but I really don't see that actually seeking out such differences is worth addressing here on a learners site. Deal with those matters on ELU or linguistics, I say. Mar 1, 2013 at 1:13
  • @FumbleFingers That is your own opinion, since I didn't express any idea. I asked questions, but that doesn't reflect what I think about English. If I ask if a word is used only in British English, that doesn't mean I think that word is used only in British English. I could have asked if the word is used more in an English dialect than another, but I chose a different way to ask the question.
    – apaderno
    Mar 1, 2013 at 2:35

3 Answers 3


A tag is not a part of a question, it is a reference or index to it. Neither a question nor an answer can be confined to the scope of the original tags. It may very well be that the original tags rested upon a misconception of the issues involved, or that answering the question raises matters beyond the scope of the original tags; in that case, the question can and should be retagged to indicate that scope.

Accordingly, respondents cannot be expected to examine the tags in order to determine the scope of the question. In this particular instance: if OP was interested in use of the phrase only in BE, that should have been included in the body of the question.


If a tag gives information that's not in the question itself, then the tag isn't accurately describing the question. Therefore, either the tag should be removed or the question should be edited to include the missing information.

In fact, the official blog post about meta-tags contains the following quote:

The reason meta-tags are a problem is that they do not describe the content of the question [...].

A tag that gives information that's not part of the question itself does not describe the content of the question. Therefore it is a problem.

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    This is misconception of what a tag is. british-english is a tag since it describes something about the question, not who is asking it; it is not a meta tag.
    – apaderno
    Mar 4, 2013 at 19:52
  • It's not a meta tag. I didn't say it was. The problem isn't the tag, but the way in which the tag is used. (Since it's used in a way that doesn't describe the question, the problem is the same type of problem that is posed by using a meta tag. The tag itself is fine.)
    – user230
    Mar 4, 2013 at 19:56
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    So, I guess that you would answer this question talking of C++, since the question doesn't mention PHP in any part, except in the tags. british-english does describe the question, differently from beginner who describe something about who is asking the question.
    – apaderno
    Mar 4, 2013 at 20:01
  • Actually, I think it's pretty obvious that question is about PHP, because 90% of it is PHP. :-)
    – user230
    Mar 4, 2013 at 20:14
  • And it is pretty obvious that a question tagged british-english is not about American English.
    – apaderno
    Mar 4, 2013 at 20:18
  • @kiamlaluno I think the point we're trying to make is, if all tags on every question suddenly disappeared, the question should still contain have all the information necessary in it to be answered as you intended. When something is only in the tags and not in the question... Well that's not the purpose of tags. Tags are for categorization. That's what we're trying to say, anyway. (Our opinion of course. But I'm not sure it's coming across correctly.)
    – WendiKidd
    Mar 5, 2013 at 17:02

Tags do give information about the question; if a tag gives other type of information (e.g. , ) it is considered a meta-tag.
If I am answering only about the etymology of a word in a question tagged , I am probably giving the wrong information.

In the question in question, the answer saying that leave go should always be replaced with let go in American English is giving information that is pertinent with the question, as it is not saying something completely different from what being asked. It is not the information I was looking for, but it is probably information that future users will find helpful.

  • I know what meta-tags are; I'm saying this situation is kind of the opposite. If a question is tagged word-usage, then the question's text should ask about word usage. Then you'll answer about word usage, not etymology. I just think it makes more sense, and is more likely to get answers you're looking for, if you reveal all pertinent information in the question. Just my opinion, and reaching out to the community for theirs. Thanks for your input :)
    – WendiKidd
    Feb 28, 2013 at 15:14
  • What I am asking in my question is not in conflict with the tags I used. It seems a contradiction to say that tags give information about the question, but tags should be ignored.
    – apaderno
    Mar 1, 2013 at 2:41
  • I wasn't trying to say that tags should be ignored, but I think we should probably just agree to disagree at this point. I've noticed this phenomenon on quite a few questions in the past, I just happened upon yours at a time when I decided querying the userbase about it would probably be a good idea. You are more than welcome to your opinion, and I respect it. I just have my own opinion, and wondered what the community thought. Thank you :)
    – WendiKidd
    Mar 1, 2013 at 3:06

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