Welcome to your Question Tags lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• What are question tags?
Positive and negative sentences
Pronouncing question tags
Special cases
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What are question tags?

Have a look at these examples:

“You haven’t seen James, have you?”

“It was a great film, wasn’t it?”

“Have you?” and “wasn’t it” are question tags in these sentences. Question tags are ‘mini questions’ we put at the end of sentences in spoken English. Question tags are formed using the auxiliary and a pronoun.

Positive and negative sentences

We use negative question tags with positive sentences:

“The hike was hard, wasn’t it?”

“You’ll come to visit, won’t you?”

“She’s been to Spain, hasn’t she?”

We also use positive question tags with negative sentences.

“You don’t know him, do you?”

“They haven’t tried this before, have they?”

“We don’t have to pay, do we?”

Positive and negative questions that use question tags are answered in the same way:

“You‘re not going out tonight, are you?”

“Yes”  “Yes I am going out.”
“No” “No I am not.”

“You‘re going out tonight, aren’t you?”

“Yes”  “Yes I am going out.”
“No” “No I am not.”

Pronouncing question tags

The meaning of a question tag depends on how you pronounce them. If the voice at the end goes up then you are asking a question:

“You’ve got a car haven’t you?”

You know how to make an English breakfast, don’t you?

“You haven’t been to Mexico yet,have you?”

If the voice goes down, then you are simply asking the listener to agree with you:

“It’s a lovely view, isn’t it?”

“This meal tastes strange, doesn’t it?”

“The Terminator is a great film, isn’t it?”

Special cases

After “Let’s” the question tag is “shall we?”:

“Let’s go out tonight, shall we?”

After “Don’t” the question tag is “will you?”:

“Don’t be late tonight, will you?”

After “I’m” the negative question tag is “aren’t I”:

“I’m right, aren’t I?”

Recap

    • Question tags are “mini questions” we put at the end of sentences in spoken English.
    • They are formed with the auxiliary and a pronoun.
    • We use negative question tags with positive sentences, and vice versa.
    • How you pronounce the question tag changes how the question tag is understood.

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