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Learn about Question Tags

 

Question Tags


We use question tags when we think we know something, but want to check because we might be wrong.

You come from Germany, don't you?

We can use them to make conversation with someone we don't know well. Here, this means "do you agree with me?"

It's a nice day, isn't it?


A question tag is an auxiliary verb + a subject pronoun. For continuous tenses the auxiliary is be (am, is, are, was, were). For perfect tenses, the auxiliary is have (has, have, had). For simple tenses, the auxiliary is do (does, do, did). Modal verbs are also auxiliaries (can, could, will, would, might, may, must, shall, should).

If you have problems with tenses, click on an auxiliary verb below to see more information about its tense and how to make it.


Positive Statement Negative Tag
subjectauxiliarymain verbauxiliarysubject
Itis raining, isn't it?
Theyhave finished, haven't they?
He can swim,can't he?
She likes coffee, doesn't she?

Negative Statement Positive Tag
subjectauxiliarymain verbauxiliarysubject
Itisn't raining, is it?
Theyhaven't finished, have they?
He can't swim,can he?
Shedoesn't like coffee, does she?

Note: We only use the subject pronouns to make the question tags. For example:

Tom is late again, isn't he?

That's fantastic, isn't it?


It's really important you get the pronunciation right with question tags. If your intonation goes up at the end, it means it's really a question - you want a yes/no answer. If your intonation goes down at the end it's a statement - you are sure it's true.

intonation question tagYou can remember, can't you? ↗

intonation question tagYou can remember, can't you? ↘


Question Tag practice Go back to main grammar page

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