The question Does "wage war" mean "declare war"? was rejected by users on EL&U while my second question, Can “wage war” be synonymous with “declare war”? has been well received and has attracted a lot of attention on ELL.

I understand that ELL is a site for more basic questions compared to EL&U, but I don't understand why it was rejected because of lack of research.

I checked dictionaries and gave the definitions I found, but after that I still didn't understand if "wage war against" can be used as a synonym of "declare war against". The definitions are similar but I have a doubt so I asked here.

Am I to understand that my doubt about the usage of "wage war" is too basic?

What other research should I have done to solve my doubt by myself?

Why are EL&U users so quick to reject questions?


2 Answers 2


I am the fifth close-voter.

The tagline for English Language and Usage (ELU):

English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.

For English Language Learners (ELL):

English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English.

There is a gray area between the two sites and some questions could be well received on both sites. However, some questions are not well received on ELU because they could be considered as general reference answerable by your favorite English language tools.

It is very unlikely for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts to be confused with to wage and to declare. The most upvoted answer to your question on ELL states in the first sentence, "The two concepts ("declaring war" and "waging war") are distinct."

I'd like to advise you to visit our Help Center and read the articles, especially Help Center > Asking. It will help you if you spend some time trying to understand what kind of question is upvoted or downvoted, and closed or put on hold on both sites.

You will learn more as time goes by. You are always welcome here with an on-topic question for ELU.

  • 1
    True, but the answer does not cite any reference, so it is probably a 'reasonable' assumption from common usage. How am I supposed to know? What research can give me that answer? Nobody said: please read here.
    – user 66974
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 11:42
  • 2
    @Saturana to declare: Formally announce the beginning of (a state or condition), to wage: Carry on (a war or campaign). These are two definitions from Oxford Online Dictionary. Isn't it very close to the answer on ELL? We don't usually answer a question like yours on ELU. That's why your question is off-topic here.
    – user140086
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 11:53
  • Ok, I still have to learn how things work here. Sorry
    – user 66974
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 12:00
  • @Saturana Your previous question about once in a while is general reference, too. That's my opinion. It is borderline on-topic on ELL, too. But others might differ. That's why we need 5 close-votes to close a question. Please spend more time here. You will learn more.
    – user140086
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 12:02
  • Thanks for your help.
    – user 66974
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 12:03
  • 2
    @Saturana - the problems you are describing are common among new users. There are rules which require time and patience to learn. You are welcome.
    – user66974
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 12:09

I don't think "too basic" is really the right dividing line. Some questions on ELL can be difficult to answer, because some aspects of English are difficult to explain.

Perhaps "too intuitive" would be a better way to say it. (Most native speakers instinctively know the difference between declaring war and waging war: War is declared by political leaders and rulers, war is waged by soldiers and sailors and airmen.)

As for the reason a question gets closed, it's not unusual for that reason to be a little bit misleading. Closevoters are presented with a menu that gives them a list of canned reasons why a question might be closed. Sometimes one of those reasons is a clear fit, other times it's simply the best available option from the ones listed.

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In the future, if you think your question is something that is easily and readily understood by most native speakers, you may want to consider asking it on ELL. I've discussed this some more in an earlier answer to a similar ELU meta question, and in a question I asked a couple years ago.

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