Question tags in English

1. Use

frequently used in spoken English when you want someone to agree or disagree

2. Form

  • positive statement → question tag negative → You are Tom, aren't you?
  • negative statement → question tag positive → He isn't Joe, is he?

3. Examples

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.