Tag Questions

Tag Questions

  • He’s funny, isn’t it? (Incorrect)
  • He’s funny, isn’t he? (Correct)
A tag question is a structure in which a statement is turned into a question when an
interrogative fragment (a tag) is added.

A tag question is usually used to continue a conversation, but is often used as a rhetorical question. It is formed by putting a negative tag at the end of a positive statement.

You went to work yesterday, didn’t you? ( the answer, “Yes, I did.” is expected.)

or

A positive tag at the end of a negative statement.

You didn’t go to work yesterday, did you? (the answer, “No, I didn’t.” is expected.)

The tag changes a statement into a question.

The subject of the tag is usually a personal pronoun or the word “there” (if it is in the statement)

  • You are hungry, aren’t you?
  • I was wrong, wasn’t I?
  • Barbara doesn’t like me, does she?
  • There are a lot of people here, aren’t there?

Make certain the number and the gender in the tag agrees with the statement.

It is also important to remember to use the correct verb tense.

Intonation in Tag Questions

As previously mentioned, tag questions are sometimes used to continue a conversation, and sometimes used as a rhetorical question. The intonation changes depending on the usage.

You have just finished eating at a restaurant with a friend, and you know the food was great.

  • That was a great meal, wasn’t it? (Intonation goes down at the end of the sentence)

You have just finished eating at a restaurant with a friend, and you thought the food was good but you don’t know if your friend also enjoyed the food.

  • That was a great meal, wasn’t it? (Intonation rises at the end of the sentence because it is a yes/no question)

Tag Question Quiz