Saturday, October 17, 2009

Question Tags : Rule No 1

Dear readers,

In my previous post I discussed question tags and gave 4 rules for their correct use . I think that these rules have to be discussed one by one in some more detail for the benefit of ESL learners .In this post I am going to discuss Rule No 1 .


When the statement is positive the tag is negative : and when the statement is negative the tag is positive

What is a positive statement ? Well, it may be defined as a declarative sentence noted for the absence of negative words like no , not etc .Examples

1. This apple is a good one, isn't it?

2 Everyone is liable to make mistakes, aren't they?

3 He is a good boy, isn't he ?

4 He is playing cricket, isn't he ?

5 There is a tea stall in front of rhe college , isn't there?

6 She used to work with him , didn't she?

7 She is used to living in luxury, isn't she ?

8 Honesty is the best policy, isn't it ?

9 She will be sixteen next year, won't she ?

10 I am your wife , aren't I ?

In the examples given above I have tried to include a few rare cases which deserve special attention .

1. When everyone is the subject ,the tag has they as the subject and the verb agrees with it .

2 Please note that sentences 3 & 4 have the same tag .( see my previous post for the structure of the tags)

3 '"There" in existential sentences can be used as subject of tags

4 In sentences 6&7 used to has two different meanings and hence two different tags .

5 Amn't I is not used in standard English .

The second part of Rule No 1 says that negative statements have positive tags . There are negative words besides no and not which can make statements negative

. See these examples

1 She hardly ever attends parties these days , does she ?

2 He never tells lies , does he ?

3 She has never gone abroad , has she ?

4 He scarcely talks sense , does he ?

5 We seldom see good movies these days, do we ?

6 She is seldom late for the show , is she?

7 This train hag only few stops , does it ?

8 There are only few mangoes in the basket, are there?

9 She does not play well , does she ?

10 It isn't true, is it ?

Dear readers , I will discuss the second rule in detail in my next post


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