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Question Tags

 
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    Question tags

    Questions tags are a small form of question that are placed at the end of a sentence often used in speech or informal writing. The question tags are often used to check whether something is true, we often use the negative question tag  to do this, to ask for agreement or to ask for help.

     

    • That's a bad apple, isn't it?

    • This isn't the right answer, is it?

    • You have milk with your tea, don't you?

    • You haven't seen my dog, have you?

     

     

    Negative/affirmative or affirmative/negative

    If a sentence is affirmative the question tag is always negative and if the sentence is negative, the question tag is affirmative.

     

     

    Affirmative sentence

    Negative question tag

    You're British,

    aren't you?

    It's warm,

    isn't it?

     

     

    Negative sentence

    Affirmative question tag

    He isn't a dancer,

    is he?

    This music isn't very good,

    is it?

     

     

    Patterns to notice

    If the main sentence has a non-auxiliary verb (a regular or irregular infinitive) the question tag uses do in both affirmative and negative sentences

     

    • You like football, don't you?

    • He gave you his phone number, didn't he?

      

      

    If the main sentence has an auxiliary verb (can or would, for example) or a non-auxiliary form of the verb to be ( is or are, for example) the question tag mirrors the question tag.

     

    • They can speak German, can't they?

    • The party is at your house, isn't it?

    • We didn't get the right chocolate, did we?

    • You wouldn't like a new car, would you?

      

      

    Intonation and meaning

    The exact meaning of a question tag is given by the tone of voice of the speaker on the question tag. If we are not sure about the answer to the question we use rising intonation, the voice goes up, on the question tag.

                                                                                         ↗↗↗

    • The boss is coming to the office at 4 o'clock, isn't she?

     

    If we are sure of the answer but want to check anyway we use falling intonation, the voice goes down, on the question tag.

     

                                                            ↘↘↘ 

    • The weather is terrible today, isn't it?

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