Improve your English conversation with Question tags by Sarah from Teatime English
I know that a lot of you want to 'sound more like a native English speaker'. There are many things you can do to get you closer to this goal. One of them is adding question tags into your spoken English. There are a few 'rules' which I will now explain to you.
Firstly, please understand that sometimes, question tags are real question and you will want an answer, but sometimes, you already know the answer, and you will just expect a signal of agreement from the other person. For example, if I was really worried about my friend being unhappy with her boyfriend, I may ask, “You're happy with Leon, aren't you?” (I would say the question tag with a rising intonation (read it aloud like that now). In contrast, if I already felt sure that she was happy with her boyfriend, I would ask her the same, “You're happy with Leon, aren't you?” (I would say the question tag with a falling intonation (read it aloud like that now). Can you hear the difference? It really changes the meaning of the sentence. That's interesting, isn't it? ;)
A main 'rule' is: If the first part of the sentence is positive, the question tag is negative, and if the first part of the sentence is negative, the question tag is positive.
E.g. You haven't seen this film before, have you?
E.g. You've seen this film before, haven't you?
E.g. I'm taller than you, aren't I?
E.g. I'm not taller than you, am I?
If the first part of the sentence contains an auxiliary verb like 'have' or 'be', the question tag contains the same auxiliary verb.
E.g. She had met him before, hadn't she?
E.g. They were there, weren't they?
E.g. They've gone to school, haven't they?
If the first part of the sentence doesn’t have an auxiliary verb, the question tag uses ‘do’, 'don't', 'does' or 'doesn't'.
E.g. She said that, didn't she?
E.g. She drinks alcohol, doesn't she?
E.g. You walk everywhere, don't you?
If the first part of the sentence contains a model verb like 'can', 'could', 'may', 'might', 'must', 'shall', 'should', 'will', or 'would', the question tag will contain the same modal verb.
E.g. We should park the car here, shouldn't we?
E.g. You'd rather walk, wouldn't you?
That's easy, isn't it? ;)
Now it's time to test yourself to see if you've understood this.
They've been here before, ____ ____?
It's fantastic here, ____ ____?
You drive a BMW, ____ ____?
He always says that, ____ ____?
We could go there tomorrow, ____ ____?
You would need to drive there, ____ ____?
It was always closed, ____ ____?
Write your answers in the comments.
Did you see the blog post about talking about people's ages? Find it here.
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Thanks. Sarah x
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