I have an archive page that lists a custom post type called 'event'. I have event posts with the tag 'regular', (the tag has an id of 53). I'd like to exclude these. I tried using pre_get_posts and then $query->set(('tag__not_in', array('53')) but I don't think tag__not_in will work with custom post types. Is there any way to fix this?

add_action( 'pre_get_posts', 'exclude_regular_tag');
function exclude_regular_tag( $query ){
    if ( is_admin() || ! $query->is_main_query() )
    if ( is_home() ) {

    if ( is_post_type_archive( 'event' ) ) {
        $args = array('53'); //id of 'regular' tag in custom post type 'event'
        $query->set('tag__not_in', $args);
  • you're using the built in post_tag taxonomy? tag__not_in is post type agnostic, it just creates a tax_query with the NOT IN operator. you can see it in source here. try having a look at the query in the template, var_dump( $wp_query ) and see if it's applying your tax parameters.
    – Milo
    Aug 13, 2014 at 0:12
  • ["tag__not_in"]=> array(1) { [0]=> int(53) } This is in the query_vars array. I double checked the tag ID. It's definitely 53 but the post is still showing on the archive page. Any ideas?
    – Badex
    Aug 13, 2014 at 9:43
  • ["tax_query"]=> object(WP_Tax_Query)#553 (2) { ["queries"]=> array(1) { [0]=> array(5) { ["taxonomy"]=> string(8) "post_tag" ["terms"]=> array(1) { [0]=> int(53) } ["include_children"]=> bool(true) ["field"]=> string(7) "term_id" ["operator"]=> string(6) "NOT IN" } } ["relation"]=> string(3) "AND" }
    – Badex
    Aug 13, 2014 at 9:54

1 Answer 1


I used tax_query instead of tag__not_in and it works now.

if ( is_post_type_archive( 'event' ) ) {

      $taxquery = array(
            'taxonomy' => 'event-tag',
            'field' => 'id',
            'terms' => array( 53 ), //the ID of the event tag
            'operator'=> 'NOT IN'

    $query->set('tax_query', $taxquery);
  • It works because you are using a custom taxonomy, not the built in post tag taxonomy. tag__not_in only works for post_tag, not just any non-hierarchical taxonomy.
    – Milo
    Aug 13, 2014 at 14:25

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