Use

In English short questions can be added to the end of sentences. These so-called tag questions are often used in conversation.

Form

tag question = auxiliary (+ n’t) + personal pronoun

If the main sentence is positive (+), use a negative tag question (-).
If the main sentence is negative (-), use a positive tag question (+).

He is at home (+), isn’t he? (-)
He isn’t at home (-), is he? (+)

The tag question uses the same tense and auxiliary as the main sentence. If the main sentence does not have an auxiliary, use do/does/did.

The tag question repeats the subject of the main clause. If the subject of the main clause is not a personal pronoun,  decide which personal pronoun should be used for the tag question (your mother = she, that actor = he, the package = it, the dishwasher = it, you two = you, your sister = she).

Your mother can play the guitar, can‘t she?
That actor will be the next James Bond, won’t he?
The package has been delivered, hasn’t it?
The dishwasher is working well, isn’t it?
You two know each other, don’t  you?
Your sister lives in London, doesn’t she?
You got my e-mail, didn’t you?

Your mother can‘t play the guitar, can she?
That actor won’t be the next James Bond, will he?
The package hasn’t been delivered, has it?
The dishwasher isn’t working well, is it?
You two don’t know each other, do you?
Your sister doesn’t live in London, does she?
You didn’t get my e-mail, did you?

Exception

I am a winner, aren’t I? (you would expect amn’t)

Exercises

Tag questions in the present tense (He is going, isn’t he? en He isn’t going, is he?)

  • exercise 1: choose the correct tag (be, have, do, will/shall)
  • exercise 2: fill in the positive tag (be and do)
  • exercise 3: fill in the negative tag (be and do)
  • exercise 4: fill in the tag (be and do)
  • exercise 5: fill in the tag (be and do)

Tag questions in the past tense (He was going, wasn’t he? He wasn’t going, was he?)

Tag questions in the present and past tense (He is going, isn’t he? He isn’t going, is he? He was going, wasn’t he? He wasn’t going, was he?)

  • exercise 1: choose the correct tag (be, have, do, will/shall)
  • exercise 2: choose the correct tag (be, have, do, will/shall)
  • exercise 3: choose the correct tag (be, have, do, will/shall)
  • exercise 4: choose the correct tag (be, have, do, mustwill/shall)
  • exercise 5: fill in the tag (be, do, have en can)
  • exercise 6: fill in the tag (be, have, do, will/shall)
  • exercise 7: fill in the tag (be, have, do, will/shall)
  • exercise 8: fill in the tag (be, canhave, do, mustwill/shall)
  • exercise 9: fill in the tag (be, cando, will/shall)

Useful pages

  • exercises practising short yes/no answers (Are you tired? Yes, I am / No, I’m not)
  • exercises practising am/is/are
  • exercises practising was/were