How to form question tags?
Question tags are used to make a statement into a question. We commonly use question tags in spoken English than written English. When we use a question tag, we expect the listener to agree with our statement or to confirm it.
A positive statement is followed by a negative question tag.
➜ E.g. He’s a teacher, isn’t he? 👨🏫
➜ E.g. You have studied for the exam, haven’t you? 📝
➜ E.g. She speaks English, doesn’t she? 🇬🇧
A negative statement is followed by a positive question tag.
➜ E.g. He’s not a teacher, is he? 👨🏫
➜ E.g. You haven’t studied for the exam, have you? 📝
➜ E.g. She doesn’t speak English, does she? 🇬🇧
So how do we form question tags?
An easy way to form question tags is to look for an auxiliary verb in the statement.
Auxiliary verb present
Auxiliary verbs help the main verb e.g. am, is, was, were, etc. They express the tense, mood, or voice.
➜ E.g. Sandra is a nurse, isn’t she? 👩🏻⚕️
➜ E.g. Tim hasn’t finished his homework, has he? 📝
➜ E.g. It was snowing yesterday, wasn’t it? 🌨
➜ E.g. I don’t need to sign the form, do I? ✍🏻
Auxiliary verb absent
When the auxiliary verb is absent then we can use the verb in the sentence to help us form the question tag.
➜ E.g. Tim likes pizza, doesn’t he? 🍕
➜ E.g. The road sign is over there, isn’t it? ⛔️
➜ E.g. She couldn’t hear me, could she? 👂🏻
There are a few exceptions that don’t follow a rule therefore it’s important to learn them.
➜ E.g. I am late, aren’t I? ⏰
➜ E.g. Let’s go shopping, shall we? 🛍🛒
Intonation is the pitch level of voice used when speaking in English. Intonation expresses emotions. If we are sure that the listener will agree or confirm that our statement is correct, we say the question tag with falling intonation.
If we are unsure about whether the listener will agree or confirm that our statement is correct, we can say the question tag with rising intonation.