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English Question Tags

30 Apr

Question tags are used in English to encourage someone to carry on talking. We use these question tags when we want to ask a question, or if we want someone to agree with us.

She doesn’t like swimming, does she?
(No, she doesn’t.)

He can’t cook, can he?
(No he can’t.)

He’s interesting, isn’t he?
(Yes, he is.)

We’ve been here before, haven’t we?

How to make question tags

To make a question tag in English, use the auxiliary verb (if there is one) in the sentence.

She doesn’t like… (doesn’t is the auxiliary)

He can’t cook… (can’t is the auxiliary)

He’s interesting… (is is the auxiliary)

We’ve been here… (have is the auxiliary)

Negative and positive tags

If the auxiliary is negative, the tag is positive.

NEGATIVE
She doesn’t like…

…does she?
POSITIVE

If the auxiliary is positive, the tag is negative.

POSITIVE
He’s interesting…

…isn’t he?
NEGATIVE

No auxiliary?

If there isn’t an auxiliary in the verb, use the right form of ‘do’ instead.

He likes tennis, doesn’t he?

You saw her last week, didn’t you?

We don’t know that for a fact, do we?

Pronunciation

If your voice goes up on the tag, you make a question. If your voice drops on the tag, then you aren’t making a question, but you are asking someone to agree with you.



 
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Posted by on April 30, 2011 in English Grammar

 

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