English Grammar Lesson: Tag Questions

Michael Grammar Leave a Comment

You like studying English, don’t you? I guess if you didn’t you wouldn’t be here at Happy English today, would you? These two questions are called tag questions, and are often used when you want to check some information that you think is true. Today, I am going to show you how to form tag questions in English, the grammar rules about tag questions, and some examples.

Tag questions are little questions that you add to the end of a sentence. Basically, Tag questions can be used when you think you know the other person’s answer, but you just want to make sure.

The basic grammar rule is that a positive sentence has a negative tag question and a negative sentence has a positive tag question.

First of all, let’s look at tag questions using the be verb. When you use a tag question with the be verb, use the be verb in both the sentence and the tag questions.

  • Positive sentence, negative tag: You are from Spain, aren’t you?
  • Positive sentence, negative tag: Tomoko is from Osaka, isn’t she?
  • Negative sentence, positive tag: Yuki isn’t a dancer, is she?
  • Negative sentence, positive tag: You’re not quitting the company, are you?

When the verb is not the be verb, we use do in the tag question:

  • You work at ABC Bank, don’t you?
  • Jenny plays the piano, doesn’t she?
  • Dan doesn’t like to cook, does he?
  • Serena doesn’t know Vanessa, does she?

Lastly, when the verb is a modal verb, use the same modal verb in the tag question:

  • You can play piano, can’t you?
  • Blair will go shopping with us, won’t she?
  • Jack hasn’t called, has he?
  • It shouldn’t rain tomorrow, should it?

In all of the above tag questions, the speaker uses rising question intonation, just like any other question. However, there are situations when tag questions are used to make comments or observations. In these situations, the tag question will have falling intonation.

  • It’s a nice day today, isn’t it?
  • It’s a beautiful classic car, isn’t it?

So, tag questions are pretty easy, aren’t they! Thanks for studying today. See you next time at Happy English

If you know anyone who might be interested in this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!



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