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Tag Questions

 

Techniques > Questioning > Tag Questions

The structure of tags | Using tag questions | See also

 

Tag questions are small questions added to the end of a statement, for example:

That is a dog, isn't it?

Note how the tag question turns the statement into a question.

The structure of tags

Here are a range of tag questions:

..., won't you?
..., can't you?
..., shouldn't you?
..., don't they?
..., isn't it?
..., won't it?

Note the structural elements:

  • The first element contains a verb, often 'to be' or 'to do', and is often a repetition of the verb used in the statement.
  • The verb is negated, in the abbreviated form.
  • The second element is a pronoun.

Using tag questions

Use tag questions to emphasize and encourage the other person to agree. They turn a bold assertion or command into a question that is difficult to disagree with.

Gaining agreement

Make an assertion and add a tag question:

They will finish, won't they?
I am the best person for the job, aren't I?
This is the best way to do it, isn't it?

Gaining compliance

Start with what you want the other person to do, and then end with a tag such as 'won't you' or 'can't you'.

You will come to the dance, won't you?
You can do this today, can't you?

See also

Using Verbs, Leading questions

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