should we use question tags:
have they? / has he?
did she? / does it? / do they?
are we? / is he?
tag question is a question we can add to the end of a statement.
basic rules for forming the two-word tag questions are as follows:
subject in the statement matches the subject in the tag
* the auxiliary verb or verb to be in the statement matches the
verb used in the tag
* if the statement is positive, the tag is usually negative and
posted my letters, haven't you?
You won't forget to check my emails, will you?
sad that I'm going, aren't you?
aren't going to cry when I leave, are you?
present and past simple tenses appear in positive statements, normally
no auxiliary verb is used, but we use the auxiliaries does,
do or did in the tag. In negative statements in the
present or past simple, the auxiliaries doesn't, don't or
didn't are, of course, already present. Compare the following:
play tennis on Thursdays usually, don't you?
Jack plays with you, doesn't he?
didn't play last Thursday, did you?
we use the there is structure, there is reflected
in the tag:
nothing wrong, is there?
weren't any problems when you talked to Jack, were there?
/ nobody /etc
When no one, somebody, something, etc is the subject in
the statement, we use it in the tag to refer to something
or nothing and they in the tag to refer to e.g. someone or
Something happened at Jack's house, didn't it?
No one phoned, did they?
Somebody wanted to borrow Jack's bike, didn't they?
Who was it?
to use tag questions
use tag questions, Ahmad, to check information or to ask for agreement.
If we use a rising intonation in the tag, we do not know
or are not quite sure of the answer. If we use a falling
intonation in the tag, we are seeking the agreement of the
person we are talking to.
can reply to tag questions either with simple yes/no answers (negative
tags normally expect a yes answer and positive tags normally expect
a no answer) or by using yes/no + auxiliary verb.
these examples, use a rising intonation in the tag. It is a genuine
question. You are not sure what the answer will be.
haven't seen my tennis shoes, have you? ~ No, I'm sorry.
couldn't borrow yours by any chance, could I? ~ No. They
wouldn't fit you.
these examples, use a falling intonation in the tag. You are simply
been a lovely day today, hasn't it? ~ Yes, it has. Gorgeous.
was a lovely wedding, wasn't it? ~ Wonderful!
thought Sue looking stunning in her wedding dress, didn't she?
~ Yes, she did. Absolutely stunning.
a shame the day is over, isn't it? ~ Yes, it is.
questions - special features
statement - positive tag
sometimes use a positive tag with a positive statement when we want
to express surprise or particular interest:
shall be staying at my favourite hotel - the five-star hotel in
Windsor. ~ Oh, you've stayed there before, have you?
I'm having supper there with the Australian tennis ace, Lleyton
Hewitt. ~ Oh, so you know Lleyton Hewitt, do you?
sentences and let's
imperatives, we sometimes add will you? or won't
you? when we want people to follow our advice:
stay there long, will you?
do take care, won't you?
let's we sometimes add shall we? when we are making
have buttered scones with strawberry jam for tea,
of pronoun subject and auxiliary verb
very informal speech, we sometimes leave out pronoun subjects, auxiliary
verbs and verb to be in the statement. Compare the following: