After noticing the tag on a question about Shakespeare's sonnet 90, I was not sure whether it referred to Shakespeare's sonnets (in which case would be recommended) or the sonnet as a genre. So I looked at how names of genres and literary terms in general had been spelled in tags so far and found the following (non-exhaustive lists):

( is a plurale tantum, so I didn't add it to the lists.)

There are several approaches we can take to this:

  • Leave it as is; folksonomies are messy, so learn to live with it.
  • Make the plural form the preferred form. (But see the ambiguity of above).
  • Make the singular form the preferred form.

I am in favour of consistently using the singular form and I am willing to do the necessary retagging work if we decide to go that way.

  • 1
    I don't think we need a sonnets-shakespeare tag. Anything tagged both sonnets and shakespeare is probably about Shakespeare's sonnets.
    – Peter Shor
    Aug 15, 2018 at 23:58

2 Answers 2


I've been thinking about this one for a couple days, since you posted it, and I've gotta be honest with you... I just don't see a reason to care, in general. I know there's that little niggling voice that says, "hey, this all is not done in the same way." But there's another voice asking, "does it really matter?" And I can't answer to that one. Also, at least to me, some of the plurals just sound better. The singulars aren't wrong, but "apocryphal work" sounds a little odd to my ears.

I like to think people will pick whichever one feels better by default, on the whole. That may not be consistent but it might be good enough - like you say, folksonomies are messy. That said, if there's a specific case that's causing confusion (I can imagine a hypothetical) or obviously sounds wrong (like if someone made the tag "paparazzo" on Photography), then sure, let's change that.

(*Also gotta point out: haiku is also plural!)


Tags can be messy but can typically be left alone.

It is not the form that matters but how the tag is defined by its wiki and excerpt.

Proper usage guidance should be able to clear up any questions if a tag is being applied properly or not.

If any tag is consistently being misused and has a sufficient definition it might be time to raise a tag specific meta to either rename, create a synonym , or take other appropriate action.

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