What is a Tag question?

A tag question comes when someone finishes their sentence with a short question and speaker wants to know the view of listener about their sentence. Basically a tag question is one where a statement is made, but the speaker wants a response from the listener to make sure their information is correct or to seek argument. A ‘Tag Question’ or ‘Question Tag’ always added at the end of a sentence.

Definition of Tag question:

Sometimes people finish their sentence with a short question. Why do they do this? Because they want to know if the person they are speaking to agrees with them or not. These short questions known as ‘Tag question’.

Rules of Tag questions:

A positive statement uses a negative question tag.

[Subject + Helping verb + Verb]      →         [Helping verb + Not + Subject]

For example:    

It is raining, isn’t it?
(The main part of the sentence is positive i.e. It is raining, but the question tag is negative i.e. isn’t it?).

A negative statement uses a positive question tag.

[Subject + Helping verb + Not + Verb]   →     [Helping verb + Subject]

For example:

It is not raining, is it?
The main part of the sentence is negative i.e. It is not raining, but the question tag is positive i.e. is it?).

Note: A Question Tag is the shortest form of a question that using the verb plus pronoun (if positive) or verb with not plus pronoun (if negative).

All helping verb + not written in abbreviation form.

Like:

Do + not               → Don’t
Does + not          → Doesn’t
Did + not              → Didn’t
Is + not                 → Isn’t
Are + not             → Aren’t
Am + not             → Aren’t (Remember it special case)
Should + not      → Shouldn’t
Could + not         → Couldn’t
Will + not             → Won’t
Can + not             → Can’t
Have + not          → Haven’t
Has + not             → Hasn’t
Was + not            → Wasn’t
Were + not         → Weren’t
Would + not       → Wouldn’t

Examples of Question Tag:

  1. STATEMENT WITH AUXILIARIES VERB: An auxiliary verb is a verb that adds functional or grammatical meaning to the clause in which it appears, it is also known as ‘helping verbs’. E.g. is, are, am, can etc.
  • Rajeev is younger than Sushil, isn’t he?
  • It is hot, isn’t it?
  • She and I can go by train, can’t we?
  • Shilpi can’t sing, can she?
  • Wild lion are dangerous, aren’t they?
  • Sudesh and Krishna will come, won’t they?

Note:

  • If the main part of the sentence is positive and it has ‘I am’ then use ‘aren’t I’ in the question tag.
  • If the main part of the sentence is negative and it has ‘I am not’ then use ‘am I’ in the question tag.

For example:

  • I am your best student, aren’t I?
  • I am smart than you, aren’t I?
  • I am not his best couch, am I?
  • I am not smart than you, am I?
  1. STATEMENT WITHOUT AUXILIARIES:
  • She seems beautifully in pink dress, doesn’t she?
  • Rivers flow towards the sea, don’t they?
  • The moon lights cool in summer, doesn’t it?
  • Usain bolt broke the world record in 100 m race, didn’t he?
  1. a. STATEMENTS USING AUXILIARIES has|have|had:
  • The bell has rung, hasn’t it?
  • The flowers have drooped, haven’t they?

   b.STATEMENTS USING THE MAIN VERB: e.g: As has|have|had – use do|does|did forms

  • A lion has sharp claws, doen’t it?
  • Indians have great respect for traditions, don’t they?
  1. STATEMENTS HAVING NEGATIVE WORDS (no, none, never, not, neither-nor) USE POSITIVE TAG:
  • Rahul is not going to come today, is he?
  • The cuckoo has no care for its eggs, does it?
  • Suresh Uncle never smokes, does he?
  • Neither Rajeev nor Vipul has any bad habits, do they?

 

  1. STATEMENT HAVING little, few, scarcely, hardly, rarely:
  • Rashi shows little care in her look, does she?
  • Ravish scarcely listens in math class, does he?
  • Few planets can be seen, can they?
  • He rarely lose his weight, do he?
  1. STATEMENTS HAVING a little|a few ARE POSITIVE AND QUESTION TAG WILL NEGATIVE:
  • A little sugar is added to sauces, isn’t it?
  • I have a few chocolates to share, haven’t I?
  1. Only USES BOTH POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE TAGS:

Only 10+ year old children are allowed to play in the stadium, are/aren’t they?

  • He did only one mistake, did/didn’t he?
  1. Let’s USES shall we:
  • Let’s go office, shall we?
  • Let’s get together for a dinner, shall we?
  1. SIMPLE REQUESTS USE will you?:
  • Pass me the ball pan, will you?
  • Get me a coffee, will you?
  1. URGENT REQUESTS won’t you?:
  • Send the e-mail, immediately, won’t you?
  • Pass on the message soon, won’t you?
  1. IMPATIENT REMARKS can’t you?:
  • Keep quiet, can’t you?
  • Listen to me, can’t you?
  1. STATEMENTS USING each, every, someone, somebody, anyone, anybody, none, nobody QUESTION TAG WILL BE THEY:
  • Everybody cheered, didn’t they?
  • Nobody can do it, can’t they?

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