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Question tags are the contracted short questions at the end of statements.
Examples of question tags are: isn't he?, are they?, won't she?, does he?, aren't I?, didn't we?, should he?, will they? etc.
Question tags are used in spoken English more than written English in order to confirm positive or negative statements; or to encourage a reply from the person we are speaking to.
What are the rules of Question Tags?
(1) A positive statement should be followed by a negative question tag:
- He IS from France, ISN'T he?
- She CAN speak English, CAN'T she?
- You WERE here last Sunday, WEREN'T you?
(2) A negative statement should be followed by a positive question tag:
- We AREN'T going, ARE we?
- They WON'T be visiting us anymore, WILL they?
(3) It should be noted that only pronouns appear in question tags.
Therefore, if the subject of a sentence is a noun, it should be replaced with a pronoun in the question tag:
- MARY has gone to Rome, hasn't SHE?
- JACK shouldn't say things like that, should HE?
(4) Also, question tags are formed using the modal (helping) verbs in a sentence:
- Lilian CAN swim, CAN'T she?
- He COULDN'T walk yet when he was three, COULD he?
(5) But if the sentence does not have a modal verb in it, question tags are formed using do / don't, does / doesn't (for statements in present tense) and did / didn't (for statements in past tense).
- I guess Mother WENT to the mall yesterday, DIDN'T she?
- You PLAY the guitar, DON'T you?
- Aaron LIKES football, DOESN'T he?
(6) If sentences contain words that have negative meaning such as hardly, rarely, barely, seldom, never, the question tag should be definitely positive.
- They RARELY eat in a restaurant, DO they?
Note : Some modals have different question tags.
- (I am) becomes (aren't I?)
- (will not) becomes (won't)
- Likewise, (won't) becomes (will)
(a) I AM a English woman, AREN'T I?
(b) Jason WON'T come, WILL he?
(i) Positive imperatives (also known as commands)
- Stop singing, will / won't you?
(ii) Negative imperatives
- Don't go there, will you?
- Let's go to the park, shall we?
(iv) There is / are
- There isn't any slot left, is there?
Now that you have understood the rules, question tags aren't much of a task anymore. And you can use them correctly, can't you?
If so, choose the correct question tag to complete each sentence.
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