Tag Questions are short questions that we use at the end of statements in order to ask for confirmation or to encourage a reply from the person we are speaking to.
For Instance: This is our world, isn’t it?
Tag Question is also called question tag and they are very common in English.
Formation: The basic structure of tag question is positive-negative or negative-positive. We use the helping verb of the same tense in order to form the tag question.
|Tenses||+ Sentence – Tag||– Sentence + Tag|
|Present be||He is a player, isn’t he?||He isn’t a player, is he?|
|Simple Present||She studies, doesn’t she?||She doesn’t study, does she?|
|Present Continuous||He is writing, isn’t he?||He isn’t writing, is he?|
|Present Perfect||He has cooked food, hasn’t he?||He hasn’t cooked food, has he?|
|Present Perfect Continuous||It has been playing, hasn’t it?||It hasn’t been playing, has it?|
|Simple Past||We typed it, didn’t we?||We didn’t type it, did we?|
|Past Continuous||He was cooking food, wasn’t he?||He wasn’t cooking food, was he?|
|Past Perfect||She had written it, hadn’t she?||She hadn’t written it, has she?|
|Past Perfect Continuous||It had been ringing, hadn’t it?||It hadn’t been ringing, had it?|
|Simple Future||I will do it, won’t I?||I will not do it, will I?|
|Future Continuous||She will be cooking, won’t she?||She won’t be cooking, will she?|
|Future Perfect||I will have cooked it, won’t I?||I will not have cooked it, will I?|
|Future Perfect Continuous||He will have been eating it, won’t he?||He will not have been eating it, will he?|
|Modal Auxiliary||I can do it, can’t I?||I can’t do it, can I?|
If the main part of the sentence is positive, the question tag is negative.
- Zophia is genius, isn’t she?
- You work hard, don’t you?
- She is typing a letter, isn’t she?
If the main part of the sentence is negative, the question tag is positive.
- You hadn’t studied the grammars, had you?
- Zophia hasn’t gotten position, has she?
- You aren’t studying grammar, are you?
Tag Question With ‘I am’:
If the sentence starts with “I am”, then the question tag for ‘I am’ is ‘aren’t I?’ not Am not I.
- I am a writer, aren’t I?
- I am a motivational speaker, aren’t I?
- I am a learner, aren’t I?
Tag Question With let’s:
When a statement begins with let’s, the question tag is ‘shall we?’
- Let’s go to picnic, shall we?
- Let’s do business, shall we?
- Let’s think deeply, shall we?
Tag Question With Imperative Sentence: Tag question is sometimes used with imperative sentence (request, command, invitation, instruction/direction, warning or advice) but the sentence remains an imperative and does not require a direct answer. We use “won’t” for invitations. We use can, can’t, will, would for orders.
- Take some food, won’t you? Polite invitation
- Open the box, would you? Quite polite
- Do it now, will you. Less polite
Note: We can only use will with negative imperative sentences.
Same-way tag questions:
Though the basic structure of tag questions is positive-negative or negative-positive, it is sometimes possible to use a positive-positive or negative-negative structure. We use same-way tag questions to express interest, surprise, anger etc. and not to make real questions.
Look at these positive-positive tag questions:
- So you’re having a cute parrot, are you? That’s magnificent!
- She wants to purchase it, does she? Some chance!
- So you think that’s funny, do you? Think again.
Negative-negative tag questions usually sound rather hostile (unfriendly):
- So you don’t like the watch, don’t you?
Tag Questions With Negative adverbs:
The adverbs never, rarely, seldom, hardly, barely, neither, no, nobody, none, nothing and scarcely have a negative sense. Even though they may be in a positive statement, the feeling of the statement is negative. We treat statements with these words like negative statements, so the question tag is normally positive or when the statement contains a word with a negative meaning, the question tag needs to be positive.
Look at these examples:
- He hardly ever works, does he?
- They rarely eat in restaurants, do they?
- He never did again, did he?
Intonation for Tag Questions:
When we are sure of the answer and we are simply encouraging a response, the intonation in the question tag goes down:
- It is our website, isn’t it?
(Your voice goes down when you say isn’t it)
When we are not sure and want to check information, the intonation in the question tag goes up:
- He is student, isn’t he?
(Your voice goes up when you say isn’t he)
Complete the sentences below and practice.
- I am a learner, _____?
- They have played game, _____?
- Do not play game, _____?
- Open the gate, _____?
- Study everyday, _____?
- Do your work, _____?
- We have been studying a lot?
- Zophia cooked delicious food, _____?
- He is typing a letter, _____?
- I am explaining the grammar, _____?
Don’t hesitate to comment below if you have any query.