Question Tags

A question tag is a question added at the end of a sentence. The speakers use question tag to make sure their information is correct or to seek agreement.

Special forms of tags:

1. This/That is your car, isn’t it?

⇒ The tag pronoun for ‘this/that’ = it

    These/Those are yours, aren’t they?

⇒ The tag pronoun for ‘these/those’ = they

2. There is a test today, isn’t there?

 there is used as the tag in sentences with there + be

3. Everything is okay, isn’t it?

⇒ The tag pronoun for ‘everything’ = it

    Everyone took the test, didn’t they?

⇒ The tag pronoun they is used for everyone, everybody, someone, somebody, no one, nobody.

4. Nothing is wrong, is it?

Nobody came to the meeting, did they?

You’ve never been to Bali, have you?

⇒ Sentences with negative words take affirmative tags.

5. I am late, am I not?

⇒ am I not? is used in a very formal English.

    I am late, aren’t I?

⇒ aren’t I? is common in spoken English.

A tag question may be spoken:

1. With a rising intonation if speaker is truly seeking to ascertain that her/his information, idea, belief is correct.

    • Julie lives in apartment, doesn’t she? 

    • He used to live in Missouri, didn’t he? 

[The speaker wants to make sure that her/his information is correct.]

2. With a failing intonation if the speaker is expressing an idea with which she/he almost certain the listener will agree.

    • It’s a lovely day, isn’t it? 

    • You’re coming with us, aren’t you? 

[The speaker is seeking agreement.]

Now try this exercise. Supply with the correct tag:

1. They want to come, _____?

2. Those aren’t Fatila’s books, _____?

3. Something is wrong with Jane, _____?

4. Nothing went wrong while I was gone, _____?

5. I’m invited, _____?

Answers:

1. They want to come, don’t they?
2. Those aren’t Fatila’s books, are they?
3. Something is wrong with Jane, isn’t it?
4. Nothing went wrong while I was gone, did it?
5. I’m invited, aren’t I?

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