Why create ELL when a huge percentage of ELU questions that I have seen appear to be from non native English speakers and are asking for things that few native speakers need. Is there a consensus from ELU mods that two SE sites are needed?

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    Yes, and look how many of those ELU questions about super-basic English-learner stuff get downvoted, closed, and deleted. Most of them.
    – tchrist
    Mar 11, 2013 at 3:13
  • There's a very good answer to this there by a user active on both sites. Mar 11, 2013 at 3:32
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    ELL was created for precisely the reason you indicate: a huge percentage of ELU questions were from non-native English speakers asking for things that few native speakers need. Those questions seemed largely out-of-place for that venue, but the community wanted a place where those questions would be welcomed, rather than downvoted for being too basic. They are legitimate questions, when presented to the right audience.
    – J.R. Mod
    Mar 12, 2013 at 8:27
  • @StoneyB -- thanks for the pointer. I would follow ELU if I had time, but I don't; but after I retire, ... In the meantime, I hope I can provide some help on ELL. Mar 12, 2013 at 20:12

2 Answers 2


ELU is for etymologists, linguists, and serious English language enthusiasts, while ELL is for people who are learning English. I don't see it as splitting ELU into two sites. Instead, I see it as creating a new site for a different audience. Although the two sites cover much of the same material, they cover different aspects of it, and are thus distinct.


The difference between the sites is the target audience: English Language Learners is for people learning English. As such, I would not expect questions about Old English on ELL, or questions asking a deep analysis about the etymology of a word.

Probably, there are questions that are on EL&U that would have been asked on ELL, if both the sites were created at the same time, but that doesn't mean the sites are two different purposes and audiences.

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