Using Tag Questions

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BY G. Javier Burgos
Using Tag
Questions
What is a tag question?
• A tag question is a sentence with a question phrase connected at
the end.
Example:
It’s windy today, isn’t it?
Sentence part
Tag
Tag questions have two purposes:
1.
To clarify information
(the speaker expects an answer)
Example:
•
•
•
We have a test tomorrow, don’t we?
Mr. Smith is coming to the meeting, isn’t he?
I’m permitted to park here, aren’t I?
Tag questions have two purposes:
2.
To agree with someone
(the speaker does not expect an answer)
Example:
•
•
•
You’re falling asleep, aren’t you?
The party was a lot of fun, wasn’t it?
I didn’t win the lottery, did I?
Forming Tag Questions
(6 easy steps)
Step 1:
Identify the verb in the sentence.
Sergio likes to eat at buffets, ______ ______?
verb
Forming Tag Questions
(6 easy steps)
Step 2:
Identify the type of verb.
(Is it the verb “to be”, an auxiliary verb, or the
main verb?)
Sergio likes to eat at buffets, ______ ______?
Main verb
Forming Tag Questions
(6 easy steps)
Step 3:
Identify the tense of verb.
(Is it in present or past tense?)
Sergio likes to eat at buffets, ______ ______?
Present tense
Forming Tag Questions
(6 easy steps)
Step 4: If in present tense, determine if 1st or 3rd person. If in
past tense, use auxiliary “to be” or “do” in past.
Sergio likes to eat at buffets , _
Use the auxiliary verb “does”.
Third person
_ ______?
does
Forming Tag Questions
(6 easy steps)
Step 5:
Is the verb affirmative or negative?
doesn’t
Sergio likes to eat at buffets, __________?
Affirmative
Write in the opposite.
Forming Tag Questions
(6 easy steps)
Step 6:
Add the pronoun at the end.
Sergio likes to eat at buffets, doesn’t
?
he
Noun
Overview
Step 1:
Identify the verb in the sentence.
Step 2: Identify the type of verb.
Step 3: Identify the tense.
Step 4: If in present tense, determine if 1st
or 3rd person. If in past tense, use auxiliary
“to be” or “do” in past.
Step 5: Affirmative or negative?
Step 6: Add pronoun.
Let’s Practice
• Lunch was delicious,
?
wasn’t it
• Spring break is next week, _________?
• Class finished quickly, _________?
isn’t it
didn’t it
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
You’ve called the movers,
They’re coming tomorrow,
This isn’t going to be cheap,
You haven’t finished packing,
We don’t need any more boxes,
Pablo is going to help us,
We can put some things in storage,
Jack isn’t buying our bookcases,
We need to disconnect the phone,
The movers aren’t packing the books
for us,
11. We can’t turn off the electricity yet,
12. Moving is hard,
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
g.
h.
i.
j.
k.
l.
can we?
do we?
is he?
isn’t it?
aren’t they?
have you?
isn’t he?
is it?
haven’t you?
don’t we?
can’t we?
are they?
He won the prize, didn’t he?
question tag
2.a.
NEGATIVE QUESTION TAG:
If the sentence is positive, the question tag is negative:
You have seen that film, haven’t you?
+
2.b.
-
POSITIVE QUESTION TAG:
If the sentence is negative, the question tag is positive:
You haven’t seen that film, have you?
+
If the sentence contains a negative word (never, hardly…) the question
tag is positive:
Ann never goes anywhere, does she?
+
FORM
3. Questions tags consist of …
AUXILIARY VERB + PRONOUN:
I shouldn’t laugh,
should
Sarah was winning,
wasn’t
I?
she?
We use the auxiliary verb that is used in the previous sentence. If
there is no auxiliary verb, se use “do/does” (present tense) and
“did” (past tense):
You live near here, don’t you?
You turned left, didn’t you?
The pronoun refers to the subject of the previous sentence.
FORM
4. Some verbs form question tags differently:
I am  aren’t I?
I’m helpful, aren’t I?
There is  isn’t there?
There is a chemist’s near here, isn’t there?
There are  aren’t there?
There are many shops in the area, aren’t there?
This is / That is  isn’t it?
That’s your wife over there, isn’t it?
FORM
5. When we answer question tags, we often use short answers:
A: You are French, aren’t you?
B: Yes, I am. / No, I’m not.  SHORT ANSWERS
A: She’s got a dog, hasn’t she?
B: Yes, she has. / No, she hasn’t.  SHORT ANSWERS
A: You smoke, don’t you?
B: Yes, I do. / No, I don’t.  SHORT ANSWERS
Note: A comma is used between the main sentence and the ‘tag’
part, e.g.
This is your book isn’t it?
MORE-------Tag-Questions
 You are my student. Statement Sentence positive
 You are not my student. Statement negative
 Are you my student? Question (interrogative)
 You are my student, aren’t you? Tag-question
Tag-Questions
• Whose books are these? – a true question
• These are your books, aren’t they?
-Tag-question – Positive
These are not your books, are they?
- Tag-question -- Negative
Tag-Questions
• Making a tag-question sentence:
• She is your friend
,
isn’t she
?
A positive tag-question sentence!
Tag-Questions
subject of the ‘tag’ part is always a corresponding PERSONAL
PRONOUN. e.g.
Mary isn’t your sister, is she?
Tag-Questions
• Point 2 (continued)
• John has gone home, hasn’t
?
‘John’ – proper noun – male – singular
he
pronoun – male – singular – subjective case
Tag-Question
• Point 2 (continued)
• Ted and Jerry got their books, didn’t
?
‘Ted and Jerry’ – Proper nouns – male – plural
they
Personal Pronoun – male -- plural
Tag-Questions
• REMEMBER--• If the verb in the main sentence is in Positive
form, the verb in the ‘tag’ part will be in
Negative form.
Tag-Questions
 Point 3 (continued)
 She is your sister,
she?
“is” – main verb – Simple Present Tense –POSITIVE
isn’t
– Simple present tense – NEGATIVE
Tag-Questions
• Point 3 (continued)
• Brad hasn’t done his work,
he?
‘hasn’t’ – Present perfect – NEGATIVE
has
Present perfect -- POSITIVE
Tag-Questions
 Point 3 (continued)
 Kate goes to school,
she?
‘goes’ – Simple present – POSITIVE
‘does not go’ – Simple present – NEGATIVE
doesn’t
Point 4
The negative form of the verb in the ‘tag’ part is always
contracted:
does not = doesn’t; has not = hasn’t; will not = won’t
Tag-questions
• Point 3 (continued)
• James did not go to school,
he?
‘did not go’ – Simple past – NEGATIVE
‘go’ – Simple past – Positive; however, in ‘tag’ part, the
auxiliary (helping) verb alone is used:
did
Tag-questions
• Point 5 -- Word order
• In the statement sentence (in the main sentence) the subject
comes first and the verb comes next; but in the ‘tag’ part, the
verb comes first and the subject comes next, just as in the
interrogative sentence.
Tag-Question
• Point 5 – word order (continued)
For example:
A woman fainted, didn’t she?
Main sentence
‘tag’ part
Subject first; verb next
Verb first; subject next
This is what we use…
• Shall
Ex: Let’s go out for a walk, shall we?
• Will/ would
Ex: Post this letter for me, will you?
• Aren’t
I’m younger than you, aren’t I ?
Think about question tags for these
statements:
• I’m right,_____________?
• You’ve been working late
again,_____________?
• You haven’t got a pen by any
chance,____________?
• Let’s have a break,_________?
• Sit down a moment, ________?
• You met your husband in
N.Y,___________?
• We’re going to London on Saturday,
______________?
• You haven’t broken that as well,
____________?
Tips!
• In replies to question tags we use
short answers.
You’ve been here before, haven’t you?
No, I haven’t, actually!
• Notice that when the information is
not correct people use actually after
the short answer.
• Notice the comma before the question
tag
Thanks a bunch!
G. Javier Burgos E.L.T.
[email protected]
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