GRAMMAR 9: QUESTION TAGS

GRAMMAR 9: QUESTION TAGS

Good morning ladies and gentlemen! How is it going? Today it´s Wednesday and it´s time for grammar, isn´t it? Let´s talk about question tags! Do you know what is a question tag? How do you form a question tag? Are there any exceptions? Read this post and find out the answer. Are you ready? Go on!

DEFINITION

First of all, what´s a question tag? A question tag is an interrogative ending to a sentence (In Spanish, we say: “coletilla interrogativa”).

Secondly, when/why do you use a question tag? You use a question tag to chek something you already think is true.

Thirdly, what´s the structure of a question tag? To form a question tag you use:

 

AUXILIARY VERB (positive or negative)  + PRONOUN (I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they) ?

 

The correct auxiliary verb. You use the same auxiliary verb which appears in the main statement, together with a subject pronoun.

  • If the main verb is be, this also appears in the question tag (e.g. He´s French, isn´t he?). If there is no auxiliary verb (E.g. He can´t swim, can he?) or be in the statement, you use do, does or did in the question tag. (E.g. She likes the sound of the sea, doesn´t she?)
  • You use a negative tag if the sentence is positive and a positive tag if the sentence is negative.

EXAMPLES

POSITIVE VERB, NEGATIVE TAG

It´s hot today, isn´t it?

You´re Spanish, aren´t you?

They live in Rome, don´t they?

They´re on holiday this week, aren´t they?

The film finishes at 9.00, doesn´t it?

She worked in a shop, didn´t she?

We´ve met before, haven´t we?

You´ll be OK, won´t you?

You would like to come, wouldn´t you?

NEGATIVE VERB, POSITIVE TAG

He isn´t at home today, is he?

You don´t like sugar in your coffee, do you?

You aren´t proud, are you?

They don´t smoke, do they?

She doesn´t eat meat, does she?

You didn´t like the book, did you?

He hasn´t been to London before, has he?

You won´t tell anyone, will you?

SPECIAL CASES

*You use will / can you? or would / could you? after positive imperatives. Only will you? is used after negative imperatives.

E.g. Don´t be late, will you?

 

*After statements containing negative words like never, nothing or nobody, as well as hardly, barely, seldom and rarely, we normally use a positive tag.

E.g. My son hardly ever phones, does he?

 

*We use the pronoun they in question tags after statements with nobody / no-one / somebody / someone / everybody / everyone as the subject.

E.g Everyone seemed to have a good time, didn´t they?

E.g. Nobody went there, did they?

E.g. Nobody smokes, do they?

(Although nobody is third person, we use ‘do’ because we talk about a group of people)

*With ‘am’ and ‘let´s’, we use the following:

I´m right about Sarah, aren´t I?

Let’s go for a walk, shall we?

 

EXCEPTIONS

*A positive question tag can also be added to a positive statement. The speaker repeats, rephrases or interprets what he /she has just heard and uses the tag with rising intonation to express interest, surprise, anger or concern.

E.g. ‘Sam gave me a lift.’  ‘So Sam can drive, can he?’

E.g. ‘Don´t be stupid.’ ‘Oh, so I´m stupid now, am I?’

 

 

NOW YOU! COMPLETE THESE SENTENCES!

1.You didn´t tell anybody, ____________?

2.You won´t be late, ____________?

3.She eats meat, ___________?

4.She was married to Jack, _____________?

5.We haven´t seen this film before, __________?

6.’She graduated last year.’ ‘So she went to university, ___________? (SURPRISE, INTEREST)

7.’I can´t find my keys.’ ‘You´ve lost your keys know, __________? It´ll be your head next.’ (ANGER, CONCERN)

 

 

And that is all for today. Do you have any doubts? If so, leave us a comment. Once more, thank you for visiting our blog!

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