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: 4.2 (5 votes)

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

Submitted by SM JAKIRUL ISLAM on Wed, 16/11/2022 - 04:36

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What is the tag question of the following
1. Thank you very much...?
2. None is none under the sun.....?
3. Long live Bangladesh....?
4. Slow and steady wins the race,....?
5. Time and tide wait for none,.....?
6. Who cares.....?
7. Waste not want not,...?
Please give a solution with reference.

Hello SM Jakirul Islam,

Question tags are unnatural in many of these sentences. Remember that question tags are generally used when we expect the listener to agree, and although they don't always require a response, in theory one should be possible.

I can't think of a situation when a response would be natural for 1, 3, 6 or 7. 2 is grammatically incorrect. 4 and 5 don't really invite a response, either, but I suppose you could look at the number and person of the verbs ('wins' and 'wait') and then use a negative form of 'do' for the question tag.

By the way, we're happy to help with a question or two, but we don't want to do our users' homework! If you have a teacher, I'd encourage you to ask them for help with these.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir
I agree with you. But some teachers set such type of questions of SSC level in Bangla Medium schools and colleges. I have not found any usage in any grammar book published by OXFORD/ Cambridge.
I am a writer and teacher. To be sure, I posted the above questions. I'm really upset seeing such types of questions.
Thanks a lot.

Profile picture for user Ahmed Imam

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Sun, 13/11/2022 - 21:58

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Hello. Could you please help me? Which form is correct? Why?
- You don't think she is ill, (is she - isn't she - do you)?
Thank you so much.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

'do you' is the correct form. The question tag refers to 'don't think', not to 'is'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Abhi1999 on Sun, 13/11/2022 - 12:38

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Where do we have to use the 'do' forms?
She is a teacher
She has a car
He needed a pen