What is a Question Tag?
A question tag is a grammatical structure where a short question is asked at the end of a sentence to express interest rather than seek information. Question tags are used to keep the conversation open.
- This must be steamed first, mustn’t it?
- There isn’t a single library in my area, is there?
- Raman already paid the bill online, didn’t he?
- The teacher will mark you absent if you don’t finish this assignment, won’t she?
The phrases in blue are question tags.
Question Tags – Pattern
For positive statements: Question tag = Auxiliary + n’t + Subject
- Rajlakshmi has peeled the potatoes, hasn’t she?
- Dharma and Punit went cycling, didn’t they?
For negative statements: Question tag = Auxiliary + Subject
- The boys didn’t like to stay in the hostel, did they?
- The journey wasn’t so tiring after all, was it?
It is easy to form a question tag:
- Rewrite the sentence replacing the full-stop with a comma (,).
- Change the verb in the sentence to its contracted form for negative tagging.
- Add the appropriate verb for positive tagging.
- Add the appropriate pronoun after the verb/contraction.
Add a question mark (?) to finish.
- Sameer borrowed your pen two days ago , didn’t he?
- She couldn’t have walked home with all the bags , could she?
- Daddy used to spend his Sundays in the garage, didn’t he?
- The scientists were shocked to see the footage , weren’t they?
- Tanya is the best artist I know , isn’t she?
How to Form Question Tags
What are Short Answers?
- Short answers are generally used in direct speech or during an engaging conversation.
- The questions to short answers usually begin with auxiliary verbs.
Short Answer – Pattern
Yes + Pronoun + Auxiliary
No + Pronoun + Auxiliary + n’t (not)
Will Mr Wilson allow Dennis inside his house?
- Yes, he will.
- No, he won’t/will not.
Could this have been a planned robbery?
- Yes, it could have.
- No, it couldn’t have/could not have.
Is Faisal asleep?
- Yes, he is.
- No, he isn’t.
Agreements with Statements
Agreements with affirmative statements are made with
Yes/So/Of course + Pronoun + Auxiliary
- It is a good book. – Yes, it is.
- Leena has already come. – So she has.
- He can speak Italian very well. – Of course, he can.
- He looks dishonest. – Yes, he does.
Agreements with negative statements are made with
No + Pronoun + Auxiliary + n’t/not
- The fruits aren’t good. – No, they aren’t.
- Hamsa doesn’t like butter. – No, she doesn’t.
- Rashmi hasn’t bought the car yet. – No, she hasn’t.
- They haven’t played well. – No, they haven’t.
Disagreements with Statements
Disagreements with affirmative statements are made with
No/Oh no + Pronoun + Auxiliary + n’t/not
But is used in disagreement with a question or an assumption
- The cakes are stale. – Oh no, they aren’t.
- You are joking. – Oh no, I am not.
- Why did you steal the money? – But I didn’t.
- I suppose he knows Photoshop. – But he doesn’t.
Disagreements with negative statements are made with
(Oh) yes (Oh) but + Pronoun + Auxiliary
- You can’t read that. – Yes, I can.
- They won’t come again. – But they will.
- You don’t know Cheryl. – Oh yes, I do.
- I didn’t break the glass. – Oh, but you did.