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Session 67

Welcome to English In A Minute. Give us a minute and we'll give you a hot tip about English. Grammar, vocabulary... there's so much to learn! And all taught by your favourite BBC Learning English staff!

Activity 1

How to use tag questions

Do you have a minute to spare to learn some English? Tom's about teach us all about question tags in a minute, isn't he? Give us 60 seconds and we'll give you the English!

Watch the video and complete the activity

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Hi! I'm Tom and today I'm going to show you how to use tag questions.

We use tag questions to ask for confirmation. For example: It's a melon, isn't it?
'Isn't it' has a similar meaning to 'do you agree'?

When the statement is positive, we make a negative question. And when the statement is negative, we make a positive question. It isn't a banana, is it?

We can use other auxiliary verbs with tag questions and these show a change in tense and meaning. For example: You won't eat my melon, will you?

When there's no auxiliary verb, we make a question using 'do'.

Elly, you really like melons, don't you?

She really does.


Did you like that? Why not try these?

EIAM Teaser TGGTeaser English at Work______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tag questions

We use question tags to ask for confirmation. We might expect a person to confirm something that we already think, or be asking a question to confirm something we do not know. We show the difference using a falling or rising intonation on the tag section. 

  • It's a melon, isn't it?
  • You were always late, weren't you?

Positive and negative
When the sentence stem uses a positive form of the main verb, the question tag uses a negative. Vice versa: if the sentence stem uses a negative verb form, the tag will be positive. There are some exceptions, but this is true in most cases.

  • She doesn't live there, does she?
  • We haven't been here before, have we?

Auxiliary verbs
Question tags can be in any tense. We can change the auxiliary verb and main verb to change the tense. If the tense has no auxiliary verb in the positive (e.g. the present and past simple tenses), add the corresponding correct form of the verb 'do'.

  • He runs, doesn't he?
  • She ran, didn't she?
  • They've run, haven't they?
  • You won't eat my melon, will you?


To do

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