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Is there something that should be done to unify the following tags, or is it intentional that they are separate this way?

It seems that a typical question will ask something like

Why do I say “cakes and sugar” instead of “cakes and sugars”?

Someone will respond with

Sugar is used in the uncountable situation and “sugars” is used in the countable situation. Here are some examples...

So the usual Q & A takes on both topics for a complete answer. (Here is a typical example.)

It seems a complete answer to any question would need to cover both what “is” and “is not” countable.

Should tags and be merged? If not, what is the situation where only one of them is needed?

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  • Not always a question is about comparing an uncountable noun with a countable one. Sometimes users, especially new ones, will just use the awful catchall grammar tag, instead of using either one of the aforementioned tags. It's too late to make this tag business work, in a nutshell, it's a shambles. Moreover, merging countable and uncountable only succeeds in dumbing down the system. The downvote is for the proposal, it's a bad idea IMO.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 30 '19 at 14:31
  • 757 results for answers that contain the words countable and noun. 299 results for questions that contain the words countable and noun. Some are tagged correctly but many aren't, that's a lot of retagging, who's going to do that?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 30 '19 at 14:37
  • @Mari-LouA If tags are merged, the system will automatically do the replacements. Mods can create synonyms when we do the merge.
    – ColleenV
    Aug 30 '19 at 15:14
  • @ColleenV what about all those questions mistagged? Who's going to go retag them? And for what? Only for the next ten or fifteen questions asking about mass/uncountable/countable/singular/plural nouns to be tagged "grammar"?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 30 '19 at 15:22
  • Think how many more questions there must be that are about un/countable nouns but do not use that term in the title or in the question body.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 30 '19 at 15:24
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA I wasn’t disagreeing, I was just letting you know merging doesn’t cause any manual retagging, and might not put us in a worse position. I’ve given up on the grammar tag. There’s no reasonable way to resolve it. There will always be a “I’m too lazy/don’t know enough to tag this properly” tag. The number of questions that could have better tags is significant, but not enough people care about them to make a dent. I often just fix them for questions that I might need to find again to mark something a dupe.
    – ColleenV
    Aug 30 '19 at 15:27
  • @Mari-LouA I previewed some merges to give us a better idea of how much overlap there is among the tags and added the stats to my answer.
    – ColleenV
    Aug 30 '19 at 15:42
  • @Mari-LouA When I exclude the "count" tags and limit the score to 2 or more, we only need to look at tags for 77 questions Still quite a few, but no so bad. The search I used was is:question countable noun -[countability] -[countable-nouns] -[uncountable-nouns] score:2
    – ColleenV
    Aug 30 '19 at 19:53
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There is a lot of overlap, probably in part because two of those tags don’t have any usage guidance.

My opinion is that questions about whether something is uncountable or countable would be tagged with . I do think there are questions where it makes sense to only use one of or . For example, (a) test administration or If it's “double” why is it singular?.

That said, with the way the tags are currently being used, we could probably merge them all into without any significant loss of information.

Here are some quick statistics:

Merging into :

countable-nouns will be removed from 139 questions
uncountable-nouns will be added to 51 questions

(there are 51 questions that have but not )

Merging into :

uncountable-nouns will be removed from 221 questions
countable-nouns will be added to 133 questions

( There more than twice as many questions with only as questions with just )

Merging into :

countable-nouns will be removed from 139 questions
countability will be added to 102 questions

Merging into :

uncountable-nouns will be removed from 221 questions
countability will be added to 181 questions

( is not as popular as either of the countable noun tags)

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  • What are the advantages of merging two tags? 1. It's easy to do and does not disrupt the main page. But is that a good enough reason alone?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 30 '19 at 17:47
  • @Mari-LouA Usually it’s for if we have two tags being used for the same type of questions, like “perfect” and “perfect-constructions”. It makes it easier to ensure that questions about the same topic are grouped together. If pretty much every question about a topic could (or does) have both tags, they probably should be merged into one and a synonym created. I don’t know if that is the case here. I can see some questions specifically about uncountable nouns that might not really be about countability.
    – ColleenV
    Aug 30 '19 at 18:04
  • The question has only been viewed 14 times since it was posted, and I suspect at least five of those visits are mine :) We'll see what other users think. I don't think there's any appreciable advantage to be had. It would be better that all the questions that specifically mention “countable noun” be correctly tagged, i.e.countable tag
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 30 '19 at 18:10
  • @Mari-LouA It might make more sense to just worry about the ones that have a score of 2 or more at first. We don’t get much value out of tagging questions that aren’t as interesting to people. There’s a way to limit the score when searching (you don’t have to use a SEDE query) maybe score:2.. answers:1..
    – ColleenV
    Aug 30 '19 at 18:30

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