How to use Question tags
In today’s blog post, we are going to be taking a look at using question tags. We use question tags to turn a declarative or imperative statement into a question by adding in an interrogative element, or ‘question tag.’ For example, He’s a doctor, isn’t he?
We often use question tags to clarify information, however they can also be a very good way of starting a conversations or ‘breaking the ice,’ eg You work in a bank, don’t you? Tell us some more about that! Usually question tags are only really used in informal conversations rather than formal writing.
How to Construct Question tags
If the main part of the sentence is positive, we would use a negative question tag.
- He’s a baker, isn’t he?
- You go to school, don’t you?
On the other hand if the main part of the sentence is negative, we would use a positive question tag.
- You haven’t met him, have you?
- She isn’t coming, is she?
Question Tags with Auxiliary Verbs
When using question tags in sentences with auxiliary verbs (‘have,’ ‘be’ etc..) we have to use the same verb as the main part of the sentence.
- They’ve gone away for a few days, haven’t they?
- They weren’t here, were they?
- He had met him before, hadn’t he?
- This isn’t working, is it?
Question Tags Without Auxiliary Verbs
If the main part of the sentence doesn’t use an auxiliary verb, the question tag uses an appropriate form of ‘do.’
- I said that, didn’t I?
- You don’t recognize me, do you?
- She doesn’t eat meat, does she?
Question Tags With Modal Verbs
If the main part of the sentence uses a Modal verb (can, could, should, must etc..), the question tag uses the same modal verb.
- They couldn’t hear me, could they?
- You won’t tell anyone, will you?
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Let’s see if you can use the different types of question tags in context.
- You can’t play the guitar,_________?
- She is in a meeting right now,_________?
- They’re on their way here,___________?
- He’ll make sure there are no problems,_______?
- We’ve already finished that part,_________?
- They could visit some famous landmarks,______________?
- He might go for a drink,__________?
- We shouldn’t even try that,___________?
- You don’t have to go there________?
- She speaks English fluently,__________?