What are tag questions? You’d really like to know, wouldn’t you?
Tag questions are basically questions formed by adding a question phrase to a regular sentence (positive or negative). You’ll notice that when the sentence is in the positive form, the tag question will be in the negative form and vice versa.
- She’s really smart, isn’t she?
- He’s not here yet, is he?
- I’m not interrupting, am I?
- It’s cold outside, isn’t it?
Of course a tag question can always be asked just as a regular question:
- The painting is beautiful, isn’t it? = Is the painting beautiful? / Do you think the painting is beautiful?
- She lost a lot of money in the stock market, didn’t she? = Did she lose a lot of money in the stock market?
- She doesn’t care how I’m dressed, does she? = Does she care how I’m dressed?
So why use tag questions when we can use regular question sentences that have the same meaning? Well, if you look closely at the sentences, you’ll see that there is a small but important difference. With tag questions, you can add your opinion and maybe influence the answer, in a subtle way.
- You don’t mind giving me a ride to the airport, do you?
- You can do it by yourself, can’t you?
- You don’t really want to eat that, do you?
Practice using tag questions
In order to practice using tag questions, try changing the following question sentences into tag questions (there may be more than one possible answer):
- Is it late?
- Do you have to go?
- Are you hungry?
- Am I in trouble?
- Have I done anything wrong?
- Would you like to go with her to Spain?
- Would you like to clean the house?
- It isn’t late, is it? / It’s late, isn’t it?
- You don’t have to go, do you? / You have to go, don’t you?
- You’re not hungry, are you? / You’re hungry, aren’t you?
- I’m not in trouble, am I?
- I haven’t done anything wrong, have I?
- You’d like to go to Spain with her, wouldn’t you?
- You wouldn’t like to clean the house, would you?