GRAMMAR: QUESTION TAGS
Consider the following examples
(1) You wanted that, didn’t you?
(2) He is coming tonight, isn’t he?
(3) You wouldn’t report me, would you?
Now, look at the last part of all the above sentences preceded by the comma. These are very small questions added to the sentence and are called question Tags. Remember only the question tag is a question and not the entire sentence. So, one can say that a Question Tag is an added brief question to a statement. Usually a question tag consists of two words-an auxiliary verb in the positive or negative form and a pronoun.
How to form question tags?
Three things are to be kept in mind while making a question tag:
(a) The right auxiliary Verb to be used in the question.
(b) The right pronouns to be used in the tag.
Both (a) and (b) should be in agreement with the verb and noun in the main statement.
(c) Whether the verb in the question tag should be positive or negative.
Rules to form Question Tags
I. If the main statement is positive, the auxiliary verb will be negative and vice versa e.g.
- He saw that, didn’t he?
- But he isn’t going to England, is he?
II. If there is a single subject/noun/pronoun in the main sentence, the corresponding pronoun/the same pronoun will be used in the question tag. e.g.
- You are coming with us, aren’t you?
- Reena is leaving tonight, isn’t she?
III. If there is more than one noun/pronoun in the main sentence then the corresponding pronoun to the active subject will be used in the question tag. e.g.
- After all this time you’d think he’d have forgotten, wouldn’t you?
- You wouldn’t refuse me, would you?
IV. If the verb in the main sentence is an active verb without any auxiliary verb, then the verb used in the question tag will be the form of verb ‘do’ that corresponds with the tense in the main sentence.
- He knows it’s true, doesn’t he?
- You wanted to come with me, didn’t you?
- I told you so, didn’t I?
- She never informed us, did she?
- If the main sentence has an auxiliary then it is used in the question tag, but with opposite affirmation, i.e., a positive auxiliary in the main sentence transforms to a negative auxiliary in the question tag and vice versa e.g.
- He will be coming, won’t he?
- You were there at the party, weren’t you?
- You would appear for this exam, wouldn’t you?
- He didn’t call us, did he?
- She doesn’t live here anymore, does she?