Question Tags

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Question Tags :

Look at this conversation.

It’s hot today. Isn’t it?
Yes. But it was hotter yesterday. Wasn’t It?
Yes. You are on holiday. Aren’t you ?
Yes. I’m going to Ooty tomorrow.

Question tags are small questions like….

Isn’t It?
Wasn’t It?
Aren’t You?

….which are put at the ends of sentences. They are mainly used to check whether something is true or to ask for agreement.

When a tag is spoken, the voice can go down or up. If we are sure of the answer and we are only asking the other person to agree with us, we use a falling tone (the voice goes down). If we really want to know something and are not sure of the answer, we use a rising tone (the voice goes up).

Study the question tags in the sentences below.

1. It is raining. Isn’t it?
2. He is your cousin. Isn’t he?
3. Ramesh has come. Hasn’t he?
4. Your sister can sing well. Can’t she?
5. You play tennis. Don't you?
6. Tom plays cricket. Doesn't he?
7. He arrived last night. Didn’t he?
8. They haven't agreed. Have they?
9. Padma doesn’t know Hindi. Does she?
10. I needn’t come again. Need I?
11. You didn’t go to the party. Did you?
12. This novel isn’t interesting. Is it?

You must have noticed the following points from your study of these examples.

The subject of the statement is repeated in the question tag. If it is a noun, it is repeated in its pronoun form.

If there is an auxiliary verb or the ordinary verb be (= am / is / are / was / were), it is repeated in the question tag. If there is no auxiliary verb or the ordinary verb BE, we use do / does / did in the question tag.

Unless the statement is negative, N’T is usually added to the verb in the question lag.

The main question tag patterns are…

Auxiliary verb (or be) + n’t + pronoun (for positive statements)
Auxiliary verb {or be) + pronoun (for negative statements)

The answer expected is YES if the statement is positive and NO if the statement is negative.

Note that the question tag for I AM is AREN’T I?
I’m taller than you. aren’t I?

We can use THERE as a subject in question tags.
There is some sugar. Isn’t there?

We use THEY in tags after somebody / someone / everybody / everyone and nobody / no one.

Somebody forgot to lock the door. Didn’t they?
Everybody is here. Aren’t they?
No one phoned for me. Did they?

We use IT in tags after something, nothing and everything.

Something is wrong. Isn’t it?
Nothing can happen. Can it?

After imperatives, we use the tags WILL / WOULD YOU? and CAN / COULD YOU? when we want people to do things.

Give me a hand. Will you?
Lend me your calculator for a few minutes. Could you?
After a negative imperative we use WILL YOU?

Don’t be late. Will you?

Question Tags

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