Question tags in English
frequently used in spoken English when you want someone to agree or disagree
- positive statement → question tag negative → You are Tom, aren't you?
- negative statement → question tag positive → He isn't Joe, is he?
3.1. with auxiliaries
- You've got a car, haven't you?
3.2. without auxiliaries (don't, doesn't, didn't)
- They play football on Sundays, don't they?
- She plays football on Sundays, doesn't she?
- They played football on Sundays, didn't they?
Questions tags are used to keep a conversation going. You can agree or refuse to a sentence with a question tag.
- Affirmative sentence: He is from Germany, isn't he?
- Negative sentence: He isn't from Germany, is he?
Possible answers are Yes or No. If you use Yes, do not use contracted forms. If you use No, contracted form are possible.
- Yes, he is.
- No, he is not. or No, he isn't. or No, he's not.
4. Special points
4.1. Although the negative word not is not in the sentence, the sentence can be negative. Then we use the positive question tag.
- He never goes out with his dog, does he?
4.2. If have is a main verb in the sentence and refers to states, there are two possible sentences – We have a car, _____?
- We have a car, haven't we? mostly British English
- We have a car, don't we? mostly American English
4.3. Use will/would with imperatives (Simple Present).
- Open the window, will you?
- Open the window, would you?
- Don't open your books, will you?
4.4. We use won't with a polite request.
- Open the window, won't you?
4.5. We use shall after Let's.
- Let's take the next bus, shall we?
4.6. Auxiliary must
We must be at home at 8 pm, mustn't we?
- Yes, we must.
- No, we needn't.
4.7. Personal pronoun I
I am late, aren't I?
This form is commonly used (mostly informal). It is because there is no contracted form for am + not (amn't). Grammatically correct would be: am I not. This is only used in formal situations.