- How to Form Question Tags?
Question tags, also known as tail questions, turn declarative clauses into questions to invite a response from a conversation partner. They are formed by adding an auxiliary verb and repeating the subject of the main clause as a pronoun.
Rule 1: You can use a question tag when you expect your conversation partner to confirm or react to what you're saying.
Your flat is so big, isn't it?
Isn't it? is a tail question used to invite a response.
Rule 2: You should use a contraction of negation for positive sentences.
You want to believe, don't you?
Don't you? is a contraction of negation for a positive sentence "You want to believe."
Rule 3: You should use the positive form for negative sentences.
You don't want to believe, do you?
Do you? is the positive form for a negative sentence "You don't want to believe."
How to Form Question Tags?
Be or Auxiliary Verb
Rule 4: If the main verb in the sentence is a form of the verb be, you should use the same form in the question tag.
This dress is new, isn't it?
Is is a form of the verb be used in a positive sentence, so in order to form a question tag, you should use the same verb but in the contraction of negation: isn't it?
Note: In the negative question tag for I am, you should use are.
Rule 5: If there is an auxiliary or modal verb in the sentence, you should use it in the question tag.
You haven't played that game yet, have you?
Haven't is an auxiliary verb used in the negative sentence, so we should use it in a positive form to form a question tag: have you?
You can play guitar, can't you?
Can is a modal verb used in a positive sentence, so you should use it in a negative form to create a question tag: can't you?
Rule 6: You should use the verb do in the appropriate form for the question tag if there is neither the verb be nor auxiliary/modal verbs in the sentence.
He plays violin, doesn't he?
There is neither verb be nor auxiliary/modal verbs in a positive sentence "He plays violin," so you should use an appropriate form of do in negation: doesn't he?
Rule 7: You should always use pronouns in question tags. The name or noun used as a subject should be replaced by a corresponding pronoun in the question tag.
Lucy is your sister, isn't she?
She is a corresponding pronoun for the name Lucy.
Rule 8: If there is a pronoun used for the subject in a sentence, you should use the same pronoun for the question tag.
She has grown so much, hasn't she?
She is a pronoun used for the subject in this sentence, so you should use she in the question tag as well: hasn't she?
Add the question tag. You speak English, ___?