Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. In this lesson, I'm going to talk about tag questions. I'm going to explain what tag questions are, how to make them, and a few different ways to use them. So, let's get started.
Okay. First, what is a tag question? A tag question is a short question that comes after a statement. I'll explain a lot of examples today. These are very short questions, usually, just like two words. We use tag questions for confirmation or for agreement. When we want to check that something is correct, for example, we use a tag question. When we want to use a tag question to confirm information, we typically use downward intonation to do this. You'll hear a few examples of this in this lesson.
However, we also use tag questions to ask for information. We want to get some new information. We can use a tag question to do that. But typically, when we want to ask for something, we'll use upward intonation, the same way that we would ask a regular information question. Let's keep this in mind as we look at some of the rules for using tag questions and making tag questions.
Okay. First, to make tag questions, there are two basic rules I want to explain. The first rule is if the verb in the main sentence or in the main part of the statement is a positive verb, then the verb in the tag question must be negative. Let's look at a few examples of this. Here, "You cooked this, didn't you?" Here, "cooked" is the verb in the main part of the statement, and it's positive. That means I need to use a negative verb. Here, in this case, "didn't" in the ending part of the statement. I'll explain this rule in just a moment, too.
Another example, "He could hear me, couldn't he?" Here, "could" is positive in the main part of the statement, therefore, I need to use the opposite form "couldn't," the negative form at the end of the statement in the tag question. Last example here, "You've had breakfast, haven't you?" Here, I'm using, "You have had breakfast." Here, "you have" is my positive verb, my positive auxiliary verb in this case, so I need to use the negative, "haven't" in my tag question at the end of the sentence. This is the first part. Then the opposite is also true as we see here in point number two.
If the verb in the main sentence or the main part of the statement is negative, then the verb in the tag question is positive. This is the opposite of point one that we just talked about here. I've just made the opposite of each of these sentences. Here, we'll see. "You didn't cook this, did you?" Here, I have the negative. "You did not cook this." Therefore, the positive "did" is used in the tag question. Again, "He couldn't hear me, could he?" Here, I've used "couldn't." This time, it's negative in the main part of this statement, so the tag question is positive, "could he." Finally, "You haven't had breakfast, have you?" Here, I have the negative "haven't, have not," therefore, I need to use the positive "have" in the tag question.
This is the basic rule for making tag questions. If we see a positive verb in the main part of the statement, the tag question should be negative. It should use a negative verb. And the opposite is also true. If a negative verb is used in the main statement, we should use a positive verb in the tag question. This is one key thing you'll see in our example sentences for today.
Let's look at a few more details about how to make these. Point number three here is about auxiliary verb. Remember, auxiliary verbs are like "have" and "has," "be," for example. If there's no auxiliary verb in the main statement, then the tag question, we'll use the appropriate form of the word "do." And by that, I mean the positive or the negative form like "do" or "does," for example. Let's look at some examples of this. So, no auxiliary verb is used here. So, "He made this, didn't he?" Here, I have the verb "made," past tense, "He made this, didn't he?" No auxiliary verb is here, so we need to use the verb "do." However, "made" is a positive. Meaning, the tag question needs to be negative. So, here, "didn't" is past tense; "did not," in other words. The contracted form "did not" is used here.
Let's look at one more. Here, I have the negative. "She didn't go, did she?" I need to use the positive "did" in the tag question. Here again, "They cancelled, didn't they?" So, "cancelled" is the verb. It's the positive form of the verb used here. I therefore need to use the negative in the past "didn't" in the tag question. Again, if no auxiliary verb is in the main statement, then we should use the correct form, the appropriate form of "do" to make the tag question at the end. However, as in point number four, if there is an auxiliary verb, so if we do see some case of "have" or "be" used, then we need to use the same auxiliary verb in the tag question, but we still need to follow this rule, the positive and negative rule.
For example, "He hasn't finished his homework, has he?" Here, the auxiliary verb "has" is used, but I have the negative form. "He hasn't finished his homework." I need to match this with the positive "has he." "He hasn't finished his homework, has he?" Next one, "She's left the office, hasn't she?" Here, the verb might be hard to find. It's this apostrophe S, "she's left," meaning, she has left the office, hasn't she? Here, I've used the negative because the positive "she has" is used in the main statement. Finally, "They were listening to our conversation, weren't they?" Here, I'm using "were," the positive "were" in the statement, so I need to use the negative, "weren't," in the tag question. So, please be careful. When you're using an auxiliary verb in your main statement, make sure to use the opposite form of the auxiliary verb in the tag question.
Alright, let's go on to part five. Part five is a little bit special. If "am" or "are," if one of these words is used in the main part of your statement, then we'll use "are" or "aren't" to make the tag question here. This one's a little bit special. For example, "I'm," I'm as the contracted form of I am so, "I'm bleeding. I am bleeding, aren't I?" So, again, the same positive and negative rule. "I am bleeding, aren't I?" So we'll use the negative "aren't" here to match with the positive "I am." Another example, "You're not leaving, are you?" Here, you are not leaving, You are not leaving, are you?"
Here, we have a negative form. "You're not leaving, are you?" So here, we need to use the positive form in the tag question. Finally, they're going home, aren't they?" So here, we have "they are going." There's a positive form; they are, they are, so we need to match this with the negative form. "They're going home, aren't they?" Alright. Please be careful if you see this "am" or "are" in your main statement. Please be careful of that. Finally, point number six, if you use a modal verb, so this is like "will, won't, could, should, would, for example. If a modal verb is used in the main part of the statement, we need to follow the same rule. Use the modal verb in the tag question as well. Just use the opposite form of that. For example, "I shouldn't eat this, should I?"
Here, shouldn't. Is my mode over?" I've used the negative "shouldn't." We'll use the positive "should" in the tag question. I shouldn't eat this, should I? Another one he won't call, will he?" So, "won't" in this case, the negative "won't" is used, so I need to use we'll, the positive form in the tag question. Finally, they wouldn't hurt us, would they?" There's the negative form in the main statement and the positive form in the tag question. You can see that these two points about the positive and negative matching, these really are the basis for making other tag questions. And then just pay attention to whether or not you're using an auxiliary verb as well in your main statement.
Always think about matching the opposite form of the verb in the main statement to the tag question there. And also, think about your intonation when you're using these kinds of sentences, when you're using these kinds of questions. As we talked about here, when you want to just get agreement or get confirmation from someone, you can use downward intonation. For example, "He made this, didn't he?" or "She didn't go, did she," or they cancelled, didn't they? So there's a very kind of downward sound to it. It sounds a little bit like you're not really asking for information maybe, like you're talking to yourself almost a little bit.
However, if you want to actually ask someone for information, make sure to use upward intonation. So, to use the same examples, "He made this, didn't he?" or "She didn't go, did she?" Or, "They cancelled, didn't they?" Again, it still sounds like you want to get confirmation about something, but when you use the upward intonation, it sounds like you don't actually know, maybe you have a guess but you're not quite sure and you are looking for some information.
So, please keep your intonation, the sound of your voice in mind when you're using tag questions. Okay. That's everything that I want to explain for this point. I hope that it was useful for you. Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye, bye.

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๐Ÿ˜„ ๐Ÿ˜ž ๐Ÿ˜ณ ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜’ ๐Ÿ˜Ž ๐Ÿ˜  ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜… ๐Ÿ˜œ ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜ญ ๐Ÿ˜‡ ๐Ÿ˜ด ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ โค๏ธ๏ธ ๐Ÿ‘

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Please let us know if you have any questions.

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Friday at 07:34 AM
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Hi there Margaret and Ayesha,


You're both welcome! Thanks for joining us!


@Margaret - That tag question is fine. ๐Ÿ‘You could also say "Am I not?" but it would be very formal.


Feel free to shoot through any questions you have throughout your studies.


Sincerely,

ร‰va

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Margaret
Saturday at 08:22 PM
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Hi Alisha.


I am bleeding. Aren't I?


Can we use, I am bleeding. Am not I? instead of aren't I.


Thanks,

Ayesha
Saturday at 10:50 PM
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Thanks for the lesson.

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Sunday at 07:32 PM
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Hello Sabri,


Thanks for taking the time to write to us! ๐Ÿ˜„


Please feel free to shoot through any questions you have throughout your studies.


Sincerely,

ร‰va

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Sabri
Tuesday at 09:51 PM
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You heard the noise in the kitchen, didnโ€™t you?

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Monday at 09:11 PM
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Hello Marie-Odile,


Thanks for the great question!


"I am bleeding, aren't I?" is using the tag question "aren't I?" It is made up of a statement (I am bleeding) and a negative tag question. If the verb is a positive, the tag question needs to be a negative.


Feel free to ask us any other questions that come up.


Sincerely,

ร‰va

Team EnglishClass101.com

marie-odile
Thursday at 04:46 AM
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hello Alisha

I don't understand the tag question used in the phrase


I Am bleeding,aren't I


why is there : are in the question tag ?

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Sunday at 05:30 PM
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Hi Mukti,


You're welcome. ๐Ÿ˜‡

If you ever have any questions, please let us know.


Kind regards,

Levente

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Mukti Prakash Datta
Sunday at 06:45 AM
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Thanks๐Ÿ‘

EnglishClass101.com
Sunday at 07:07 PM
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Hi Nam,


Great to have you here!


Please stay tuned, as we'll have new lessons for you every week! And if you have any questions, feel free to ask us.


Sincerely,

Cristiane

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