A lot of questions get tagged with the "grammar" tag, without being related to what I think of as grammar. Before changing the tags I decided to read the Wikipedia article about grammar and learned that the term is understood in a very broad sense by laymen and in a very narrow sense by linguists. The community should therefore together decide how we want to use the term.

I think we should opt for a narrow definition. I chose to "follow" that tag to easily filter out questions about the technical structure of German, but the current use of the tag does not allow this and I can not find another tag that do.

Note that I do not claim that the linguist definition of "grammar" is better than the other, that borders on intellectual snobbery, but I do claim that the linguist definition is more useful for this site because it makes it more searchable.

I hope the following links both clarify what I mean and give us something concrete to discuss.

Questions which do not qualify for the grammar tag:

Questions which I consider edge cases:


It seems I can not change the tags of the old questions without them floating to the top of the main page, so this is a request for a moderator to clean up in the questions tagged as "grammar". I ask a moderator to do it because I have heard that a moderator can choose to avoid the question floating to the top.

Some 10 odd questions need the grammar tag removed, and some other questions would benefit from being additionally tagged with "morphology", "syntax", "semantics" or "orthography".

  • 1
    I completely agree. The first three questions are not about grammar, and the second two turned out not to be.
    – Tim
    Jun 7, 2011 at 7:40
  • 2
    Staring at an empty tag field can be a daunting thing for someone less linguisticly inclined (like me). This will often lead me to using terms that are very broad, and I agree that they should be edited by those who know what they are doing and make heavy use of tags.
    – BudgieInWA
    Jun 15, 2011 at 4:41

2 Answers 2


I agree that your actual examples are not about grammar.

I am not sure what your general thesis is.

I have now read the relevant tag wiki and invite you to edit it accordingly. If someone does not like it we can still change it back. Please cite the old and new version in this thread for possible further discussion.

  • +1 You're right that it's not very clear, but the last sentence in the first paragraph hints at what I want. Since the term grammar is ambiguous I wanted to get a community "thumbs up" before redefining the way the tag is used. From my experience people use "grammar" as an umbrella term which also encompasses the four first questions I listed. Why shouldn't this site use the term like this?
    – Stovner
    Jun 7, 2011 at 13:52
  • @Stovner: Because the "grammar" tag is also a synonym for the "Grammatik" tag and we have yet to see a German user who understands the problem with the "intellectual snobbery" of using the grammar tag for grammar questions.
    – Phira
    Jun 7, 2011 at 13:58
  • Do you mean that the German term "Grammatik" has a clearly defined meaning which can not be understood in this broader sense? Yes, in that case there's hardly room for discussion since the English tag and German synonym must match.
    – Stovner
    Jun 7, 2011 at 14:16
  • 1
    @Stovner: Both the German wikipedia entry and my personal experience with the use of the word are much more narrow than the English wikipedia entry. In particular, in school errors in essays were labelled as either "Rechtschreibfehler" (spelling errors), "Grammatikfehler" (grammar errors), wavy red lines under your text (bad style) or finally "Themaverfehlung" (not pertinent to the subject). The German wikipedia entry also points out that the "Grammatik" as a science has been wider before the 20th century.
    – Phira
    Jun 7, 2011 at 18:27
  • I also agree--on the question that I posed myself, I think an English speaker associates 'grammar' with almost anything to do with a language-centric topic (unfortunately true) and I just didn't think enough. Jun 23, 2011 at 10:01

Concerning your edit: the floating of retagged questions to the top is by design, and also a moderator can't prevent this. The only point where a moderator can help in this respect is creating tag synonyms and tag merging: If, e.g., there are two tags describing the same thing, then a moderator can make things consistent by first making one tag a synonym of the other and then merging the two.

  • Thanks for the information, you're of course right. It was claimed in the chat that the devs could make it happen, but I read mods. Now I know the difference. :)
    – Stovner
    Jun 11, 2011 at 8:31
  • @Stovner: The devs could make anything happen (except for major earthquakes, maybe :-)), but in this case they probably wouldn't because this is a small-scale thing. What does happen on rare occasions is that a dev destroys a tag, thus removing it from all the questions. This can be very helpful if one just wants to get rid of a tag. Jun 11, 2011 at 8:47

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