Question Tags

Question tags are short questions that appear at the end of some sentences. We use them to show emphasis, politeness, irony or lack of confidence. Question tags are usually used in informal and spoken English.

QT = question tags

Examples:

  • Stop talking, will you?
  • They have just arrived, haven't they?
  • He wasn't serious, was he?
  • Our team will win this match, won't it?
  • Justin met her 3 years ago, didn't he?
  • Let's meet at the Stadium, shall we?
  • She's pretty, isn't she?
  • You like her, don't you?
  • You don't like her, do you?
  • He was there, wasn't he ?

How Do We Form Them?

Main Clause + the comma + Positive/ Negative Auxiliary Verb + Personal Pronoun

As you can see, forming most of question tags is rather easy.

1. If the main clause is positive, like this one:

  • He plays football.

...we invert the position of the subject ("he") and the auxiliary verb (in this case, it's "does"), just like it is done when forming questions in English. Then, we add not to the auxiliary verb.

  • He plays football, doesn't he?

2. If the main clause is negative, like this one:

  • He doesn't play football.

... the QT should be positive:

  • He doesn't play football, does he?

More examples:

They don't talk much, do they? (main clause is negative, QT is positive.)
They talk a lot, don't they? (main clause is positive, QT is negative.)

Remember that you should only use personal pronouns in QTs:

  • These cars are very comfortable, aren't these cars?
  • These cars are very comfortable, aren't they?
  • Mary is strikingly beautiful, isn't she?

The above QT are the most common ones. But there are also other more informal question tags:

  • You told her, no?
  • It is a nice car, innit?
  • You have the tickets, right?
  • He's a good buddy, eh?
  • Clever, ain't it?
  • Got some trouble, huh?

Remember that while you must not use them in formal language, they are perfect for some informal chats! :-)