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Jen’s English Tip’s – Question Tags in English

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Question tags in English


Question tags are very common in spoken English. We use them to keep conversation going by involving listeners and inviting them to participate. The most common patterns are: positive sentence – negative tag, or negative sentence – positive tag.

You’re Jenny, aren’t you?

It isn’t a very nice day, is it?

We repeat the auxiliary verb in the tag. If there is no auxiliary, use do/does/did.You haven’t been here before, have you?You can speak French, can’t you?We must take the dog out, mustn’t we?She eats meat, doesn’t she?Banks close at four, don’t they?You went to bed late, didn’t you?

Be careful with question tags with I’m…I’m late, aren’t I?Notice the meaning if yes and no in answers to question tags.‘You’re coming, aren’t you?’ ‘Yes.’ I am coming or ‘No.’ I am not coming.The meaning of a question tag depends on how you say it.

If the tag falls, the speaker expects people to agree with him/her.Beautiful day, isn’t it?It’s just the sort of weather for swimming, isn’t it?I’m a silly person, aren’t I?You don’t like my mother, do you?If the tag rises, the speaker is asking for confirmation.

The speaker thinks he/she knows the answer, but isn’t absolutely sure.Your name is Abigail, isn’t it?You’re in advertising, aren’t you?You work in the city, don’t you?We can also use question tags with negative sentences to make a polite request for information or help.You couldn’t lend me your car this evening, could you?


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