Question Tags

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 Greek, can’t you?

Jane eats meat, doesn’t she?

We should take the dog out, shouldn’t we? 

You went to bed late, didn’t you?

Be careful with question tags with I’m…

I’m late, aren’t I? 

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 new sweater, 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 Peter, isn’t it?

You’re an accountant, aren’t you?

You live in London, 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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