I never noticed the descriptivism tag until today, when it *was** used for this question which is now closed. At present, there are ten uses of the descriptivism tag on the site, including the closed question. I considered drafting a wiki entry for it, but I truly don't know what the intended usage is. Might anyone provide some some suggestions about how this tag should be used?

SE engine's spell-checker red lines descriptivism. This doesn't mean that the tag is incorrect or bad! I mention the red lining only to emphasize that the word, or term, is somewhat unusual for a tag in the context of this site.

*The closed question no longer has the same tags. The descriptivism tag count equals nine.

  • The only reference to descriptivism was this question: meta.english.stackexchange.com/questions/490/… which is indeed VERY meta. It seemed like there was agreement that the subject of the question was a discussion type topic. I read all the answers and comments but it did not help me understand how the tag should actually be used on the main site. Jan 31, 2012 at 15:08

1 Answer 1


I can't see the point of the descriptivism tag on ELU. Rather ironically, the tag itself has no description, but I assume whoever created it was thinking of descriptive linguistics - the work of objectively analyzing and describing how language is spoken.

I think it's about as much use as having a tag called usage (or one called English, come to that).

  • @Feral Oink: I think it was only there because Seamus asked this question back in Oct '10 and only had that tag on it. I've just re-tagged it to "word-choice" and knocked "descriptivism" off the few others that had it. If anyone's unhappy they can put it back and we'll argue about it! Feb 1, 2012 at 4:49
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    Yay! Thank you very much for addressing that matter. I am going to delete my earlier comment, as anti-fragility is not pertinent to descriptivism, and will just confuse anyone who sees it after the fact. Feb 1, 2012 at 6:29

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