has the following tag wiki:

A sentence is a set of words that is complete in itself, typically containing a subject and predicate.

I notice the tag is being used in questions that:

In some cases, the tag is simply used to mean "the context for the question is a sentence," which is probably true in most of the cases.
When somebody is asking a question for which the context is missing, users comment asking for more context (e.g. where the word was seen, who said it); as result, most of the times the OP adds a sentence or two that make clear the context. Should be added to those questions because the OP wrote a sentence, and not a phrase?

What should be written in the tag wiki to make clear when should be used? Is there anything that should be written to make it clearer when it should be used?

  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Proposal: Blacklist [sentences] Oct 11, 2016 at 15:29
  • That is a proposal for blacklisting a tag; I am asking when I should use it. They aren't duplicates at all.
    – apaderno
    Oct 12, 2016 at 15:57
  • Plus, I am asking what to write in the tag wiki, not to blacklist the tag.
    – apaderno
    Oct 12, 2016 at 15:59
  • Well, yes. But this question was posted years ago, regarding the descriptor for a tag which quite clearly wasn't even being used appropriately back then. And it looks even worse now, which is why more people have already upvoted the much later proposal to just abandon the tag completely. Imho quite apart from the inevitable misuse it encourages, any actual benefit we could derive from enforcing consistent "correct" use would be so small it's not worth the effort (which we've conspicuously failed to make over the last 3+ years! :) Oct 12, 2016 at 16:29
  • @FumbleFingers In the case you don't know it, blacklisting a tag is something done from the Community Managers, which hardly do it. The fact I am asking what the purpose of a tag is, and what should be written in its wiki has nothing to share with blacklisting the tag, which anyway is not going to happen any soon. Better to remove it from all the questions. Even in the case the tag would be removed, this question is not a duplicate of that question.
    – apaderno
    Oct 12, 2016 at 16:35
  • Yeah, I do realise that blacklisting is very unlikely. But I stand by my closevote because I think we should stop using it. If we remove all current references (hardly any of which would deserve the tag even if we kept it), I believe only users with high rep could restart it. And I think they wouldn't, because it's no use. Oct 12, 2016 at 16:47
  • @FumbleFingers Even if the tag should not be used, this question is not a duplicate. Do you close a question that explain why a tag should not be used? An what happens if the tag has a purpose and an answer here explains when it should be used?
    – apaderno
    Oct 12, 2016 at 16:55
  • I've already said repeatedly that I think this tag should not be used because it doesn't work. So it's irrelevant to ask me "what happens if the tag has a purpose?", because it doesn't. I see I won't convince you, but so far as I'm concerned, this question has been superseded by the one posted three years later, and "duplicate" is the best of the fixed-choice reasons available to me. And trust me - just as I won't convince you of that, you won't convince me to retract my vote. Oct 12, 2016 at 17:32
  • @FumbleFingers It is irrelevant for you, but it is not irrelevant for future users. Plus, irrelevant is quite different from duplicate. Trust me, I don't need to convince you about anything; I know how closing questions works, and the difference between duplicates and irrelevant.
    – apaderno
    Oct 12, 2016 at 17:48
  • 2
    @FumbleFingers The discussion about whether sentences has a purpose should not be shut down just because someone else has proposed blacklisting the tag. This discussion has an accepted, up-voted answer that is counter to the proposal to blacklist the tag. If someone wanted to argue against blacklisting sentences in an answer to the proposal, linking to this discussion would make sense, wouldn't it? And I'm not saying that I think we shouldn't blacklist the tag - just that this is a different discussion, and still has some relevance.
    – ColleenV
    Oct 12, 2016 at 21:47
  • @ColleenV♦: The fact that you're a mod puts a different complexion on the matter. Are you saying my closevote is contrary to site rules? J.R.'s comment implies to me that all incorrect references to this tag were tidied up 3.5 years ago, yet a quick glance at the current list suggests it's become a complete shambles again. If I'm not breaking any rules then I stand by my vote. Oct 13, 2016 at 11:21
  • @FumbleFingers First off, this question doesn't cause the tag to be used, so closing it doesn't stop users from using it. Quite the opposite, if they would read the answer, they would not use it. Then, I don't think that on SE it's said you can close as duplicate when two questions are not duplicates.
    – apaderno
    Oct 13, 2016 at 11:26
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers I don't think it's contrary to the rules - you voted using your best judgement and you explained why. That's how it should work. I'm trying to persuade you (and maybe other folks looking in the close vote queue) that it can stay open. We're discussing. Unfortunately I can't take my diamond on and off - it's even attached to comments I made when I wasn't a moderator. Also, I agree with you that the tag is misused and should be tossed. I just don't think this discussion should be closed as a duplicate.
    – ColleenV
    Oct 13, 2016 at 11:26
  • @ColleenV♦: Thank you for the clarification. I know ELL is independent of ELU, but I've just noted that there's a "sentence" tag there too, and it looks to be just as useless as the one here. I don't want to seem like a dog with a bone on this one, and I'm going to be a bit busy for a while. But I might ask about these issues on ELU meta later (we'd probably get more feedback from other users there, and any responses should be highly relevant to ELL as well). Oct 13, 2016 at 11:43

1 Answer 1


Nice catch!

The tag should be used when the question is about sentences, not about the meaning of words in a particular sentence, or the conjugations of verbs in a particular sentence.

So, in other words, something like:

Is "Nice catch!" a complete sentence? If so, what is the subject, and what is the predicate?

could be tagged with the tag.

However, questions like:

Should I use find or finding in this sentence?

Should be tagged with the tag, not the tag.

I think the tag needs to be removed or replaced in most or all of the examples you have found, but I'd rather let others weigh in before changing them right away, to give others who might disagree with that position a chance to offer a counterargument.

  • With scores of +6/-0 on both the question and answer and no disagreement whatsoever, I think you're safe to proceed with this change (should you wish to undertake the task!)
    – WendiKidd
    Apr 17, 2013 at 21:42
  • @WendiKidd: Already did :^)
    – J.R. Mod
    Apr 17, 2013 at 22:29
  • Excellent! You're ahead of the game, then :) Thanks for cleaning this up!
    – WendiKidd
    Apr 18, 2013 at 0:26

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