Golden Rules of Question Tags in English Grammar
- The sentence and the question tag must be in the same tense.
- For negative question tag, use the Contracted form of ‘helping verb’ and ‘not’ .E.g didn’t, hadn’t, won’t etc
- If the Sentence is positive, the question tag must be negative and vice versa.
- Always use pronoun in the question tag.
Rule-1: Some words are negative in meaning . For e.g. hardly, seldom, scarcely, rarely, barely etc. Hence they will take positive question tag after them.
- E.g.- He hardly does any work, does he?
- He found barely anything to eat , did he?
- He is seldom absent, is he?
Rule-2:If a sentence starts with “There”, the question tag will have “there” in the place ofpronoun.
- E.g– There is no water , is there?
- There were no good schools in the town, were there?
Rule-3: Question tag is always made in accordance with the main part of the sentence.
- E.g– I think, he is right, isn’t he? (Here ‘I think’ is not important and hence it is not the main part of the sentence”.
Rule- 4 : There is no contracted form of ‘am not’ but ‘aren’t’ is used in question tag.
- Eg- I am fine, aren’t I?
Rule-5 : Each, every, everyone, everybody, no one, nobody, none are singular and hence will take singular verb/ singular pronoun/ singular adjective with them but their question tag will take plural verb and plural pronoun.
- E.g- Everyone has come, hasn’t he ( Incorrect)
- Everyone has come, haven’t they (correct)
- None of your friends like her, do they
- Everyone can speak English, can’t they?
Rule-6: If the sentence starts with “let us/ let’s “, ” shall we” is used in the question.
- E.g.- Let us go to party tonight, shall we?
Rule-7: In Imperative sentences, question tag ‘won’t you’ is used.
- E.g- come in, won’t you?
Rule-8: Collective noun takes singular verb and singular pronoun in question tag.
- E.g.- The jury has taken its decision, hasn’t it?
Rule-9: If we talk about the individual members of the collective noun or if there is a difference in opinion among the members of the collective noun, plural verb and plural pronoun are used.
- E.g.- The comm are divided in their opinion, aren’t they?
- The audience have taken their seats, haven’t they?
Rule-10: If in a imperative sentence, somebody is being offered anything, or if someone is being asked to do something, “will you/ would you” is used in the question tag.
- E.g- Open the door, would you?
- Have some more tea, would you?
Some verbs / expressions have different question tags. For example:
I am – I am attractive, aren’t I?
Positive imperative – Stop daydreaming, will / won’t you?
Negative imperative – Don’t stop singing, will you?
Let’s – Let’s go to the beach, shall we?
Have got (possession) – He has got a car, hasn’t he?
There is / are – There aren’t any spiders in the bedroom, are there?
This / that is – This is Paul’s pen, isn’t it?
- She is collecting stickers?
- We often watch TV in the afternoon?
- You have cleaned your bike?
- John and Max don’t like maths?
- Peter played handball yesterday?
- They are going home from school?
- Mary didn’t do her homework last Monday?
- He could have bought a new car?
- Kevin will come tonight?
- I’m clever?
1. isn’t she
2. don’t we
3. haven’t you
4. do they
5. didn’t he
6. aren’t they
7. did she
8. couldn’t he
9. won’t he
10. aren’t I
Questions for practice
Level – I
1. Claudia wasn’t in the class,?
2. Mind the traffic?
3. I am afraid he is seriously ill?
4. He won’t mind if I use his phone?
No, of course he won’t.
5. He never acts like a gentleman,?
6. Everybody was very happy?
7. Tom knows that his father is in the hospital?
8. Don’t drop that vase?
No, don’t worry.
9. I think she deliberately provoked him?
10. I suspect he is in love?
11. I’m right?
12. I’m too impatient?
Yes, you are sometimes.
13. It appears that she is enjoying herself?
14. You’ve got a camera,?
Yes, why? Do you want to borrow it?
15. Nothing about me is true?
16. Amanda would like to get a scholarship?
17. Carol can cope with the situation,?
18. You weren’t listening?
Yes, I was!
19. I don’t suppose you are serious?
20. I don’t think anyone will volunteer?
Answers: 1) was she
2) will you
3) isn’t he
4) will he
5) does he
6) weren’t they
7) doesn’t he
8) will you
9) didn’t she
10) isn’t he
11) aren’t I
12) aren’t I
13) isn’t she
14) haven’t you
15) is it
16) wouldn’t she
17) can’t she
18) were you
19) are you
20) will they
- Mr McGuinness is from Ireland?
- The car isn’t in the garage?
- You are John, aren’t you?
- She went to the library yesterday?
- He didn’t recognize me?
- Cars pollute the environment?
- Mr. Pritchard has been to Scotland recently?
- The trip is very expensive?
- He won’t tell her?
- Hugh had a red car ?
1. isn’t he
2. is it
3. aren’t you
4. didn’t she
5. did he
6. don’t they
7. hasn’t he
8. isn’t it
9. will he
10. didn’t he