How can I refer to switching a functionality on and off, such as reading tags for songs, by using the verb toggle? Can it be used like the 'stop doing something' construct? I saw a couple of examples for 'toggle between...' and 'toggle through...' in Merriam-Webster dictionary, all of which included non-gerund nounds, and that's straightforward. Also, I'm not sure about using the definite article before the gerund; I know that singular countable nouns must be used with an article except for special cases, such as headings or maybe explicitly terse writings, but is it required in this case?

I considered the below wordings:

  • Toggle reading tags
  • Toggle the reading of tags
  • Toggle tag reading (which sounds awful, not always possible, e.g. 'toggle sorting by time')

Since I've been using the first wording for some time, I have become used to it, but I'm not sure it's a correct usage.

Note that I'd like to use the verb toggle rather than any alternatives, if grammatically possible.

  • To toggle is not to shut something off but to switch between two states. A light switch toggles: on to off, off to on. Apr 12, 2020 at 14:01
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    I think you want Enable Tag Reading / Disable Tag Reading. See: kodi.wiki/view/Settings/Media/Music Apr 12, 2020 at 16:02
  • @YosefBaskin Edited the question slightly; I meant referring to both on and off with the verb toggle.
    – detic
    Apr 12, 2020 at 16:41
  • @TinfoilHat I want to refer to only one action to both enable and disable, hence toggle.
    – detic
    Apr 12, 2020 at 16:42
  • Don't you need to Toggle between Tag Reading on & off? Apr 12, 2020 at 16:45

2 Answers 2


It's not wrong per se. This type of usage hardly follows the rules of normal written and spoken language anyway

For instance, options like

  • Toggle Ray Tracing
  • Toggle Anti-Aliasing

Are both existing cases that are used widely enough that they're considered normal.

You could also try using Disable, or Enable instead

  • Well that's what I'm asking: How do you use toggle with a gerund within the "normal written and spoken language"? If it's not that, it is grammatically wrong, right? Also, ray tracing and anti-aliasing are recognized terms, so they're more like toggling <something>, instead of toggling <doing something>. Which of the three wordings I listed are correct do you think? All three?
    – detic
    Apr 12, 2020 at 16:58
  • The simplest option would be: Toggle "Tag Reading" on and off [if you are referring to it in spoken or written prose. You can use the quotes to "force" grammaticality]. If you are asking me what the option should be called in the UI, that need not / cannot follow any grammatical structure. "Tag Reading" is again the most intuitive choice
    – Arunkgp
    Apr 12, 2020 at 17:22
  • @dex: You have a gerund: reading. Tag is an adjective: tag reading. No problem. Also, I suspect what is meant is not a person reading tags but a program "reading out" tags. (Of course the person can then read the tags that are read out.) Apr 12, 2020 at 17:35
  • @TinfoilHat Tag is an adjective, really?
    – detic
    Apr 13, 2020 at 5:41
  • @Arunkgp Do you see any problem with "Toggle reading tags"? Because preserving the structure of a fully blown action clause would be much more usable, e.g. if the action is showing full paths, would you really say "Toggle full path showing", and it gets less usable for more detailed actions with objects or subordinate clauses, I think. What do you think?
    – detic
    Apr 13, 2020 at 5:44

The verb "show" may also be left out in this case, like on and off, since it can be inferred, but that's not something one can count on.

One simply wouldn't always be able to say "stop <something>", instead of saying "stop <doing something>", and that's probably why there is such a construct in the language.

For simpler actions such as turning a fan on, the label may read just "Fan", since on/of can be inferred, or for showing full paths, the label may be read just "Full paths" since showing/not-showing can be inferred, although this isn't the only thing you can do with full paths really. Every action clause, such as "going to school 1 hour earlier", can be toggled (i.e. switched between doing and not doing, or being done and not being done for that matter), and computer programs do too many of those complex actions. Therefore, for an action bound to a key, the functionality of the key is to toggle <doing that action>, and this may very well be the label of the toggle/key.

Therefore, I lean towards Using "toggle <doing> something" instead of "enable/disable <doing> something", as it is less typing and looks better I think. But how grammatically correct it is is the question.

Thanks again.

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