All about question tags

Question tags

Question tags (the little bit added on to the end of a statement that turns it into a question) are really common in English. Although similar structures may exist in your own language, they can create a little confusion in English as the verb needs to be inverted in a lot of cases. Don’t worry though! The rules are pretty simple and we have them all in the Online English Grammar section on Question Tags for you!


The rules

Question tags (or tag questions)  turn a statement into a question. We usually use them for checking information that we think we know is true or for asking for confirmation that we have heard something correctly (e.g. You did just say the Earth is flat, didn’t you?)

Question tags 3

Useful rules

  1. If the main clause is positive, the question tag is negative
  2. if the main clause is negative, the question tag is positive.

You are happy (positive), aren’t you (negative)?
You aren’t happy (negative), are you (positive)?

  1. If the main clause has an auxiliary verb, you use the same verb in the question tag. When there is no auxiliary verb (in the present simple and past simple) use do / does / did (just like when you make a normal question).
You have read today’s newspaper, haven’t you?
She is going to see them, isn’t she?

There is one notable exception to the rules.
After I am you use aren’t I in the question tag.

  • I’m the oldest here, aren’t I?
  • I’m waiting for Irene, aren’t I?

Take a look at the full explanation here: Online English Grammar section on Question Tags for you!

Now try a few to see if you have understood the rules for question tags:

All about question tags 1

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