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)

Hi badri.rao2008,

1 and 4 are correct :)

2 and 3 need to have positive tags: 2 are they? and 3 is it? This is because those sentences express a negative idea. Sentence 3 has a negative verb, "is not", so the tag should be positive. Sentence 2 does not have a negative verb, but the words "very few" express a limited idea, meaning something like "not many".

I hope that helps.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Aalessandro on Wed, 31/08/2022 - 21:23

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Hello, "Don't forget to send me a postcard, will you?" Is that correct?

Hi Aalessandro,

Yes, it is correct. With imperatives (e.g. Don't forget), the question tags will you and won't you are used.

Good question!

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Sajatadib on Tue, 16/08/2022 - 17:32

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Hello there.I'm wondering about this one in my head,please help me understand. You've got too many questions,haven't you or don't you?

Hello Sajatadib,

I think most people would say 'haven't you' here (following up on 'have got'), but 'don't you' is also possible since it follows up on 'have', which has the same exact meaning as 'have got'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Robert_6734 on Mon, 08/08/2022 - 22:42

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You used to hate chocolate,_______?
What is the appropriate verb to fill in the sentence

Hello Robert_6734,

I'm afraid we don't provide answers to questions from elsewhere. We're happy to explain rules and examples, or to answer questions about all different aspects of language use, but we don't just answer questions because we would end up doing users' homework and tests for them, which is not our role!

 

I can tell you that 'used to' is treated as a regular past simple form when we make a question tag. That should help you to work it out.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Altayresco on Fri, 22/07/2022 - 01:40

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Hi!! i have a question, i heard someone said " We have been through a lot , didn't we?
is that correct or should it be "We have been through a lot, haven't we?"

Hi Altayresco,

The version with "haven't we" is the correct one. If the tag is "didn't we" (past simple), the sentence should have a past simple main verb too (e.g. "We went through a lot, didn't we?").

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Macbreton Mandah on Sun, 17/07/2022 - 17:23

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He had enough time, didn't he?
Is this correct?