Question tags

Do you know how to use question tags like is he and didn't you? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how question tags are used.

You haven't seen this film, have you?
Your sister lives in Spain, doesn't she?
He can't drive, can he?

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Question tags: Grammar test 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

We can add question tags like isn't it?, can you? or didn't they? to a statement to make it into a question. Question tags are more common in speaking than writing.

We often use question tags when we expect the listener to agree with our statement. In this case, when the statement is positive, we use a negative question tag.

She's a doctor, isn't she?
Yesterday was so much fun, wasn't it?

If the statement is negative, we use a positive question tag. 

He isn't here, is he?
The trains are never on time, are they?
Nobody has called for me, have they?

If we are sure or almost sure that the listener will confirm that our statement is correct, we say the question tag with a falling intonation. If we are a bit less sure, we say the question tag with a rising intonation.

Formation

If there is an auxiliary verb in the statement, we use it to form the question tag.

I don't need to finish this today, do I?
James is working on that, isn't he?
Your parents have retired, haven't they?
The phone didn't ring, did it?
It was raining that day, wasn't it?
Your mum hadn't met him before, had she?

Sometimes there is no auxiliary verb already in the statement. For example, when:

... the verb in the statement is present simple or past simple and is positive. Here we use don't, doesn't or didn't:

Jenni eats cheese, doesn't she?
I said that already, didn't I? 

... the verb in the statement is to be in the present simple or past simple. In this case we use to be to make the question tag:

The bus stop's over there, isn't it?
None of those customers were happy, were they?

... the verb in the statement is a modal verb. Here we use the modal verb to make the question tag:

They could hear me, couldn't they?
You won't tell anyone, will you?

If the main verb or auxiliary verb in the statement is am, the positive question tag is am I? but the negative question tag is usually aren't I?:

I'm never on time, am I?
I'm going to get an email with the details, aren't I?

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Question tags: Grammar test 2

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Average: 4.1 (12 votes)

Submitted by batool89 on Fri, 27/01/2023 - 14:19

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Hello.. May I know what's the tag questions here.

Someone's at the door,

Is it.. are they or aren't they ?

Hello batool89,

The correct tag here is ...aren't they?

Indefinite pronouns use 'they' in tags:

No-one will help us, will they?

Someone should come soon, shouldn't they?

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by batool89 on Fri, 20/01/2023 - 07:35

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Hello I have a question regarding
Have has had in the statement.. and what there question tags would be.

Ex. They had to prove evidence to court, didn't they or hadn't they

They have a puppy, haven't they or don't they

Sarah hasn't called yet, did she or has she.

Are both answers right but have something to do with America English using the do and the British English using the have more commanly

Hello batool89,

'have' is used in quite different ways in these three sentences. In the first, it is almost like a modal verb: 'have to' indicates necessity. It's in the past simple and so the correct tag is 'didn't they'.

In the second, it's simple possession. Both tags are correct. The second one is more common and the first isn't used in American English at all.

In the third, it's an auxiliary verb for the present perfect and the correct tag is 'has she'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Zainu on Tue, 27/12/2022 - 01:37

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Hi!
Which of the following are correct constructions?
a) You look tired, aren't you?
b) You look tired, don't you?
c) You seem to be cheated, aren't you?

Submitted by Haruu on Sat, 19/11/2022 - 09:03

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Hello team.
May I ask what the question tag of
I was the first in the race,.........?
is it wasn't I? or weren't I?

May I please ask what's the correct tag question for "Have you already had dinner today?" specifically when you are expecting the answer to be NO. Thanks

Hello colgnzn,

To make a tag question we start with an affirmative or negative sentence depending on the answer you expect, and then generally attach a contrasting tag:

 

I believe the person has had dinner:

You've already had dinner, haven't you?

 

I believe the person has not had dinner:

You haven't already had dinner, have you?

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team