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 (13 votes)

Submitted by ndtungg on Tue, 30/06/2020 - 15:30

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In tag questions, the choice and tense of the (i)................... are determined by the verb phrase in the (ii)........................ clause. A less (iii)......................type of tag question is that in which both the statement and the (iv)................ are positive. This tag always has a rising nucleus on the operator, which indicates the speaker’s arrival at a conclusion by inference, or by recalling what has been said. can sb helps me w this. many thnk
Hi ndtungg, (i) is probably 'verb' and (ii) is probably 'main'. The question tag (e.g. 'is he?') contains a verb, which is in the same tense as the verb in the statement (e.g. 'He isn't here, is he?'). (iii) I guess is 'common', and (iv) is 'tag'. This type of question tag isn't covered in the explanation on this page. Best wishes, Jonathan The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Cuan on Fri, 26/06/2020 - 02:40

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What will be the question tag for: you used to stay up at night

Hello Cuan,

The question tag for sentences with used to is did, so the sentence with the question tag would be as follows:

You used to stay up at night, didn't you?

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by koshi on Thu, 11/06/2020 - 02:50

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I am not selected for this competition, am I ? or I am not selected for this competition, are I ?

Hello koshi

The first one. Please don't post your comments more than once.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you for your help. I'm sorry for asking twice.

Submitted by Bidisha on Fri, 22/05/2020 - 15:04

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Hello We have a lot of work,haven't we? We have a lot of work,don't we? And She seldom comes here,does she? She seldom comes here,doesn't she? Thank u
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Mon, 18/05/2020 - 04:06

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It's really remarkable.