English

Question tag

( Free Online English Grammar Lessons )

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Question Tag Form : ( auxiliary verb + personal pronoun? )


In English, a tag question is a statement followed by a mini-question. The whole sentence is a "tag question", and the mini-question at the end is called a "question tag". We use question tags at the end of statements to check that something is true.

They mean something like: "Am I right?" or "Do you agree?"

They are very common in English.


Example tag questions :

Your name's Mary, isn't it?

They're getting married in July, aren't they?

You'd like to go to the theatre, wouldn't you?

Fred sat his exams last week, didn't he?

It's not going to rain this afternoon, is it?

You've been to London, haven't you?

She likes playing tennis, doesn't she?


Notice that in English we often use tag questions to ask for information or help, starting with a negative statement. This is quite a friendly/polite way of making a request.


Example questions :

Direct question : "Where is the police station?" (not very polite)

Indirect question : "Do you know where the police station is?" (slightly more polite)

Negative tag question : "You wouldn't know where the police station is, would you?" (very polite)


In English we can change the meaning of a tag question with the sound of our voice. With rising intonation, it sounds like a real question. But if our intonation falls, it sounds more like a statement that doesn't require a real answer.

How do we answer a tag question? Often, we just say Yes or No. Sometimes we may repeat the tag and reverse it (..., do they? Yes, they do).


Notes for use of question tags :

Be very careful about answering tag questions. In some languages, an opposite system of answering is used, and non-native English speakers sometimes answer in the wrong way. This can lead to a lot of confusion! In some languages, people answer a question like "It's not raining, is it?" with "Yes" (meaning "Yes, I agree with you"). This is the wrong answer in English! In English we would reply to that question with "No" or "No, it isn't" to agree that it isn't raining.

Question tag example sentences
You didn't print out that recipe in the year 2017, did you?
It's not for ships to approach, is it?
But it seems you don't really want to, do you?
Yes, I am, it's easy to spot an Australian accent, isn't it?
How amazing it is, isn't it?
We don't need a spoon, do we?
And bugs are not on the menu, are they?
I haven't seen her since the argument, have you?
Oh, he is such a nice friend, isn't he?
I guess the front left burner is the biggest, isn't it?
Why is it? I hope you are not homophobic, are you?
Excuse me! But you said if we pay 100 more each... didn't you?
You are a weird man, aren't you?
But I see what you mean, that's interesting, isn't it?
Because you didn't tell me you had an apron before, did you?
Of course, but a pressure cooker is an extraordinary utensil, isn't it?


Be going to
Be going to passive
Be used to / Get used to
Comparative
Defining relative clause
Echo tag
Expression
First conditional
Future
Future continuous
Future perfect continuous
Future perfect passive
Future perfect simple
Future simple passive
Greeting
Have/Get something done
Imperative
Implied conditional
Indirect question
Infinitive of purpose
Interjection
Mixed conditional
Modal
Modal passive
Non-defining relative clause
Other
Past continuous
Past continuous passive
Past perfect continuous
Past perfect passive
Past perfect simple
Past simple
Past simple passive
Polite request / offer / suggestion
Present continuous
Present continuous passive
Present perfect continuous
Present perfect passive
Present perfect simple
Present simple
Present simple passive
Question tag
Reduced relative clause
Reported speech imperative
Reported speech question
Reported speech request
Reported speech statement
Second conditional
Short answer
Superlative
Third conditional
Used to / would (past habit)
Was/were going to
Was/were supposed to
Wish
Would rather
Zero conditional