Question Tags Basic Rules

Question Tags – Basic Rules, Grammar and Examples

In this complete tutorial for beginners, learners are going to learn “Question tags” and we’re going to look at the basic rules of question tags. The learners will be able to determine the meaning and the basic rules of the Question Tags with the help of examples and correct use of grammar. So, let’s start.

Question tags are short questions at the end of the sentence. We use question tags in spoken English and in informal written English.

Watch the video here first for more convenient on your part.

Let’s look at three examples of question tags to determine their rules:

She’s lovely, isn’t she?

He’s kind, isn’t he?

You’re going to Spain tomorrow, aren’t you?

In the examples we have the sentence followed by a comma and then we have the question tag at the end of the sentence, and when we write it, we have to write with a question mark (?).

Notice that the question tags are all different so the question tags depends on the form of the sentence. So, the form of the sentence gives us the question tag.

Meaning and use of question tags

1. to check if something is true or not.

Example: The conference is at 8 o’clock, isn’t it?

2. to ask for agreement

Example: It’s a beautiful wedding, isn’t it?

When to use question tags?

For an affirmative sentence, we use a negative question tag.

Examples of Question Tags:   

 John can speak French, isn’t he?

They want to watch tennis match, don’t they?

For a negative sentence, we use the affirmative question tag.

John can’t speak French, is he?

They don’t want to watch tennis match, do they?

When NOT to use question tags

We do not use question tags at the end of a question.

Another Question Tags Example:

Is the museum open today, isn’t it?

Weren’t they doing their homework, were they?

Formrule 1

If the sentence has an auxiliary verb, we repeat it in the question tag:

Affirmative               negative

Abby can play the piano, can’t she?

I should invite them, shouldn’t I?

 negative                   Affirmative

Mr. Cruz hasn’t finished his painting, has he?

Carl wasn’t playing football in the garden, was he?

Form rule 2 – “be” as a main verb

If the sentence has “be” as a main verb we repeat it in the question tag:

Affirmative               negative

John is kind, isn’t he?

The play was good, wasn’t it?

 Negative                  Affirmative

He isn’t from Spain, is he?

We aren’t late, are we?

Form rule 3No auxiliary verb in the present simple

If the sentence has no auxiliary verb and is in the present simple, the question tag uses “do”:

Affirmative               negative

You bake a cake, don’t you?

Pat likes to sing, doesn’t he?        

negative                    affirmative

You don’t speak English, do you?

Helen doesn’t play the piano, does she?

Form rule 4 No auxiliary verb in the past simple

If the sentence has no auxiliary verb, and is in the past simple, the question tag uses ”did

Affirmative               negative

He studied in Philippines, didn’t he?

Grace mopped the floor yesterday, didn’t she?

negative                    affirmative

Mr. Smith didn’t come to the wedding, did he?

Pam didn’t want to go shopping, did she?

That’s the end of this lesson hope you enjoyed it, and if you have any questions regarding the correct use of question tags, feel free to send your comments below and we’re happy to reply back.

Downloadable Material

Here’s the downloadable material of Tutorial on Question Tags: Basic Rules here.

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