Question Tags | English Usage
Questions tags are the small questions that often come at the ends of sentences.
- You are not coming with us, are you?
- She can speak English, can’t she?
Questions tags are used to check whether something is true, or to ask for agreement. Note that we use a negative question tag after an affirmative sentence and a non-negative question tag after a negative sentence.
- She is coming with us, isn’t she?
- She isn’t coming with us, is she?
Note that we do not use question tags after questions.
- You can speak English, can’t you? (BUT NOT Can you speak English, can’t you?)
If the main sentence has an auxiliary verb, this is repeated in the question tag.
- You are the new manager, aren’t you?
- She didn’t come, did she?
- It is cold, isn’t it?
- He won’t come, will he?
If the main sentence has no auxiliary, the question tag has do.
- You like music, don’t you?
- She gave you a book, didn’t she?
The question tag for I am is aren’t I?
- I am late, aren’t I?
After let us …, we use shall we?
- Let’s go, shall we?
There can be a subject in question tags.
- There is something wrong, isn’t there?
Non-negative tags are used after sentences containing negative words like never, no, nobody, hardly, scarcely and little.
- There is little we can do about it, is there? (NOT … isn’t there?)
- It is no good, is it? (NOT … isn’t it?)
We use it in question tags to refer to nothing and everything.
- Nothing can happen, can it?
In sentences with question tags, it is quite common to leave out pronoun subjects and auxiliary verbs.
- (It is a) nice day, isn’t it?