You know the Tag Questions, don’t you?

If you really know what Tag Question is, you’ll say that the title itself has a tag question. That is, “Don’t you?”

What is a tag question?

A tag question (or question tag for British English) is a short question added to a declarative sentence and it makes the statement into an interrogative sentence.

          Declarative: You watched the Flower Festival.

          Interrogative: You watched the Flower Festival, didn’t you?

          Tag question: didn’t you?

The message of the first sentence only tells that you saw the flower festival with your own eyes. By adding didn’t you, the sentence had sounded self-reassuring. That is the purpose of tag questions. It’s like you already know something but you want to make sure it is right.

  • You hate the smell of Filipino fish paste, don’t you?
  • My father is so happy right now, isn’t he?
  • She doesn’t like being bored, does she?
  • The kids were not listening to the teacher, were they?

How do we use the correct tag question?

In using the correct tag question, you must take a look at the verbs used. The kind of verb the sentence has depends on what tag question is to be added. It makes use of opposites: negation and affirmation.

When a sentence has the word “NOT” alongside its verb, the tag question loses it.

  1. She doesn’t like being bored, does she?
  2. The kids were not listening to the teacher, were they?

When a sentence doesn’t have “NOT” alongside its verb, the tag question possesses it. However, it is always contracted (shortened by an apostrophe).

  1. You hate the smell of Filipino fish paste, don’t you? (do not you)
  2. My father is so happy right now, isn’t he? (is not he)

What verbs are you going to use to tag questions?

In knowing what verb to use in the tag question, it should complement with the verb used in the independent clause or sentence.

Auxiliary verbs

If auxiliary verbs are used in the sentence, the tag questions mostly uses the same verbs.

BE DO HAVE
is does has
are do have
was did had
were   having

Take note:

When a sentence uses I am, the tag question is aren’t I? It is an exception, another oddity in the English language.

  • I am hungry, aren’t I?
  • I am not satisfied with my meal, am I?

Modal auxiliary verbs

Tag questions also use the same verbs if the sentences have modal auxiliary verbs.

can might should
could must will
may shall would

Without auxiliary verbs

With those sentences that are not using auxiliary verbs, tag question automatically uses do verbs (do, does, did). The tense must be the same.

  • He always smiles at me, does he?
  • The people sometimes forget their manners on throwing waste, don’t they?
  • The dog barked threateningly, did it?

Lastly, the noun of the sentence is sometimes replaced.

  • Proper noun (male) = he
  • Proper noun (female) = she
  • common noun (male) = he
  • common noun (female) she
  • common noun (neutral) = it
  • group of nouns = they

Examples:

  • Jackie Chan never gets old, doesn’t he?
  • Shirley doesn’t talk much, does she?
  • The teacher was mad when he came in, wasn’t he?
  • Our teacher in Pronunciation class is good, isn’t she?
  • The drink is strong, isn’t it?
  • The apples are red and fresh, aren’t they?

Now, that’s all you need to know for now. You enjoyed reading the article, didn’t you?