In most cases, if the verb in the first proposition is positive, the question tag will be negative and if the verb is negative then the question tag will be positive. This works with all the tenses and modals.
- Ken doesn’t like his job, does he?
- Sandra really loves her husband, doesn’t she?
- Jill and Jack went to court, didn’t they?
- Patricia hasn’t mentioned this detail to you, has she?
- The elephant will soon be cured, won’t it?
- Colin can drive, can’t he?
II Main uses
To confirm information with the negation of a positive form or the transformation of a negative form into a positive one
- He won’t reward you for your good work, will he?
- I can see you’ve been sleeping for hours, haven’t you?
2. To express surprise or ask a real question reusing the same verb form
- You haven’t smoke for 10 years, haven’t you?
- They work 10 hours a day every day, do they?
II Exceptions and forms to bear in mind for language tests
– The question of am is aren’t:
- I am a very confident supervisor, aren’t I ?
– The question tag of let’s is shall
- Let’s go to the theatre, shall we?
– This or that becomes it in the question tag:
- This is your pet, isn’t it?
– Nobody, no, scarcely, hardly, never, seldom and little are considered as negations so their question tag are in the positive form:
- They seldom study, do they ?
– Somebody/someone, everybody/everyone, anybody/anyone, nobody/no one become they in the question tag:
- Someone knocked at the door, didn’t they?
– When the question tag indicates surprise, the verb form of the question tag is similar to the one of the first proposition (there is no change, put into negative or positive):
- I believe Cyril is on his way to Vietnam, is he?
- Helen’s children will run a marathon, will they?
- My son and I can’t cook together, can’t we?
Mastering question tags can be useful notably in parts 5 and 6 of the TOEIC but also in the Speaking and Writing of TOEFL IBT and IELTS, part 1 sentence completion and 2 error identification du writing of TOEFL IBT, MCQ exercises, open close exercises of the IELTS and in fill-in the blank sentences and exercises as well as open close texts of the reading section of the BULATS.
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