English Language Languages

Question Tags in English

tags

What does the question tag mean?

A question tag is a very short clause that comes at the end of the sentence. Here we have a rule that if the sentence is positive the question tag must be negative but if the sentence is negative the question tag must be positive for examples:

  • I have one sister, haven’t I?
  • He is coming, isn’t he?
  • Sara will be late, will she?
  • I should study for the exam, shouldn’t I?

If we have an auxiliary verb in the sentence we use it to form the question tag. An auxiliary verb like (are-be-have-do ……….)

for examples:

  • She isn’t at home, is she?
  • It was raining yesterday, wasn’t it?
  • They could meet me today, couldn’t they?
  • She didn’t come today, did she?
  • You aren’t here today, are you?
  • They are happy, aren’t they?
  • The train hasn’t arrived till now, has it?
  • My mum is going to trip, isn’t she?
  • We are working tomorrow, aren’t we?
  • The bus isn’t coming, is it?
  • They must come today, mustn’t they?
  • I was tired yesterday, wasn’t I?
  • I don’t like fruits, do I?

Sometimes we don’t have an auxiliary verb in the sentence but the verb comes in any tense (past – present – future) so we make the question tag in the negative form of the tense of the sentence for examples:

  • My sister eats fruits every day, doesn’t she? (here in the sentence the verb is (eats) in the present simple tense in the positive form so we put the question tag (doesn’t) according to the present simple that we have in the sentence.
  • She saw some strangers last day, didn’t she? (here in the sentence the verb is (saw) in the past simple tense in the positive form so we put the question tag (didn’t) according to the past simple that we have in the sentence.
  • I told you about this before, didn’t I? (here in the sentence the verb is (told) in the past simple tense in a positive way so we put the question tag (didn’t) according to the past simple that we have in the sentence.

Notes:

  • If the main verb or auxiliary verb in the sentence is (am), the positive question tag is (am I) but the negative question tag is (aren’t I). for example:

                 1. I am not late, am I?     2. I am a secretary, aren’t you?

  • If the sentence starts with (Let’s) so we put the question tag (shall we) for examples:

               1. Let’s go out, shall we?   2. Let’s do this, shall we?

  • If the sentence starts with imperative like (do –don’t do ….) we put the question tag (will you) for examples:

               1. Don’t smoke here, will you?  2. Shut the window, will you?

Examples to sum up all:

  • Mary will be here soon, won’t she?
  • Jim should pass the exam, shouldn’t he?
  • There was a lot of traffic, wasn’t there?
  • They don’t like us, do they?
  • You haven’t got a car, have you?
  • You are not going out today, are you?
  • It’s a nice day, isn’t it?
  • Tom doesn’t feel well today, does she?
  • You haven’t got a mobile, have you?
  • Let’s go for a walk, shall we?
  • Open the door, will you?

See Also
The Gerund in English Grammar
What is a Verb?

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