Tag Questions

Tag questions turn a statement into a question by adding a short question tag at the end.

Tag questions are common in spoken English. We usually use them to confirm information or someone's opinion.

The party is at 3:00, isn't it?

You think the party is at 3:00. You are checking this is correct.

Using Tag Questions

Tag questions are made up of two parts: a statement and a question tag.

The party is at 3:00, isn't it?

Statement= 'The party is at 3:00'. Question tag= 'isn't it'

The question tag always goes after the statement, and we put a comma between the statement and the question tag.

The statement can be positive or negative.

Positive Statements

When the statement is positive, the question tag is negative. To make the question tag, you use the same auxiliary or modal verb in the statement and change it to a negative.

You are going to Paris, aren't you?

The statement 'You are going to Paris' uses the positive auxiliary 'are'. The question tag uses the negative 'aren't'.

We always use contractions for negative question tags. Learn more about contractions.

We should leave now, shouldn't we?

The statement uses the positive modal 'should'. The question tag uses the negative 'shouldn't'.

Learn more about modals.

Negative Statements

When the statement is negative, the question tag is positive. To make the question tag, you use the same auxiliary or modal verb in the statement and change it to a positive.

You aren't going to Paris, are you?

The statement 'You aren't going to Paris' uses the negative auxiliary 'aren't'. The question tag uses the positive 'are'.

Learn more about auxiliary verbs.

Statements With No Auxiliary

Sometimes, the statement will not have an auxiliary or a modal. For these statements we use the auxiliary 'do' to make the question tag.

You play tennis, don't you?

The statement only has a main verb 'play'. We use 'don't' to make the question tag.

Answering Tag Questions

When you answer a tag questions, often you can just say 'yes' or 'no'. To give the full answer, you use the same auxiliary or modal verb that was used in the question.

We are leaving at 3:00, aren't we? Yes, we are.

The statement, question tag, and response all use the same auxiliary 'are'.

We are leaving at 3:00, aren't we? No, we're not. We're leaving at 2:00.

The statement, question tag, and response all use the same auxiliary 'are'.

The form of your answer depends on whether you agree or disagree with the question.

If you agree, the response is in the same form as the statement.

It's not cold outside, is it? No, it's not.

The person responding agrees that it is not cold. The statement and response are both negative.

It's warm outside, isn't it? Yes, it is.

The person responding agrees that it is warm. The statement and response are both positive.

If you disagree, the response is in the same format at the question tag. When you disagree, it is common to add more information to your response.

It's not cold outside, is it? Yes, it is. You should wear a coat.

The person responding disagrees with the statement it's not cold. The question tag and response are both positive.

Making Tag Questions

+ You are going to Paris, aren't you? s='you' + aux='are' + v='going' ... + , + aux+not='aren't' + pronoun='you'.

- You aren't going to Paris, are you? s='you' + aux+not='aren't' + v='going' ... + , + aux='are' + pronoun='you'.

Learn more about pronouns.