What is a tag question?
A tag question is a statement, followed by little tag at the end. Sometimes we use this construction as a normal question, because we want to know something. That is the purpose of a question after all, isn’t it? Yes, but not always. English speaker sometimes use tag questions as a friendly way to invite someone to join in on a conversation, or to ask a person to agree with us.
Imagine that you want to know if your friend is hungry. You can ask a normal question. You can ask:
Are you hungry?
Do you want something to eat?
Or you can use a tag question and ask it this way:
You are hungry, aren’t you?
You want something to eat, don’t you?
How do we form tag questions?
Follow these rules to form tag questions correctly:
1.) Make a statement, then add a tag to check if the statement is correct.
You are a vegetarian, aren’t you?
2.) Tags are made up of an auxiliary verb + a subject pronoun.
3.) If the statement is affirmative, make the tag negative. If the statement is negative, make the tag affirmative.
You aren’t a vegetarian, are you?
4.) If you use the verb ‘to be’ or an auxiliary verb in the statement, repeat it in the tag.
5.) If the statement doesn’t have an auxiliary verb, use the auxiliary ‘do’.
You like fish, don’t you?
6.) Use the form of ‘do’ that is required. It might be ‘do’, ‘does’ or ‘did’.
You ate a big lunch yesterday, didn’t you?
This sounds complicated, doesn’t it? But don’t worry. The grammar rules are simple and will make sense when you start using them. But they only help if you have a clear understanding of how to apply them.
An exception to the rule!
There is an exception to the rule when we use the first person singular. It looks like this:
I am…, aren’t I?
For example, I am next in line, aren’t I?
Let’s work through some examples together.
The trick for making tag questions properly is understanding how auxiliary verbs work in English. So before we do the tag question quiz, let’s think more about auxiliary verbs. Can you make these silly comparisons?
Try using tag questions:
Do you want to practice tag questions with more activities and games?
Find them here:
Tag Questions Thanksgiving
Nature- The Forest for the Trees Tag Questions Game