Should we use tags like past-tense and future-tense, or we should use tags like past and future?

Should we use then, for example, past as synonymous of past-tense (or vice versa)?

  • As I've said before, the tags here are useless -- not blaming anybody; it's just that they've grown like Topsy, in every possible direction, and now they're thoroughly confused and contradictory. The idea of having a tag for every possible "tense" that somebody has claimed for English is just one more way to stay confused about English. – John Lawler Sep 27 '15 at 19:44

I would keep the "tense" in there just for clarity.

The only problem I can see with it is that tags like [present-perfect-tense] are rather long, but I can live with that.

  • As the software suggests the possible tags, that should not be a problem. – kiamlaluno Sep 1 '10 at 17:47
  • This is what I thought too; for consistency all the tags should follow the same schema. – kiamlaluno Sep 1 '10 at 17:48
  • Why is consistency an issue with tags when accuracy isn't? – John Lawler Sep 27 '15 at 19:45
  • @JohnLawler Consistency helps to show up inaccuracy, which of course you are welcome to correct by editing :-) – Andrew Leach Oct 3 '15 at 15:20
  • I do edit things occasionally, as you know. But I'm not interested in the tags; as I've said before, they're hopeless and not worth any further effort. – John Lawler Oct 3 '15 at 15:43

Here's how I think these tags should be named. I've used bold text to mark the changes that would have to be made from the current situation.

Tags for just the tenses use the word "tense" at the end:

Tags for just the aspects use the word "aspect" at the end:

The above two conventions make it less likely for confused taggers to mark their question about “How perfect is that?” or "What's a synonym for "birthday present" with an incorrect tag.

But tags for tense-aspect combinations do not use the word "tense" or "aspect":

These terms are already unambiguous, and also they refer not just to tenses or aspects, but combinations of these categories.

Also, other multi-word tags referring to verb tense forms, or structures referring to time, do not use "tense":

Vote up on this answer if you agree with me, vote down if you disagree (and if there's an alternate proposal that you would support that's not already on this page, I'd appreciate it if you wrote an answer that explains what it is). Hopefully this will make the community's opinions clearer.

  • Some people are apt to become irate over the inclusion of an analytic tense like the periphrastic future along with the two synthetic tenses, present and past. Not many, perhaps, but some. – tchrist Sep 26 '15 at 1:50
  • @tchrist: I hope nobody would be disturbed to the level of irateness. I'm aware of the difference myself, but the tags are not just for experts but for laypeople, and it's not like there's any other standard terminology. I myself would prefer in an ideal world to also distinguish terminologically between the type of "aspect" involved in the progressive-nonprogressive and perfect-nonperfect distinctions, since they operate on pretty much entirely distinct axes in Modern English, but I don't get to impose my preferences on everybody. – sumelic Sep 26 '15 at 3:32

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