English TAG QUESTIONS - Rules and Quiz

  A tag question is a short attached question added at the end of a sentence.

 Speakers use tag questions chiefly to make sure their information is correct or to seek agreement.*


- Jack can come, can't he?

- Fred can't come, can he?


 Auxiliaries and tag questions :

Auxiliaries, including the modals, are frequently used in tag questions. The tag repeats the auxiliary used in the sentence. If there is no auxiliary in the main sentence, do is used in the tag for the simple present and did for the simple past. Some auxiliaries; however, do not make good tag. If the main statement is affirmative, then the tag must be negative; if the main statement is negative , then the tag must be affirmative.

Examples :

  - Hank runs every day, doesn't he?

- John ran ten miles yesterday, didn't he?

- Bill won't graduate this year, will he?

- Betty can't go with us, can she?

- You surely could do better, couldn't you?

- We should leave for the airport, shouldn't we?

- John isn't about to graduate, is he?

- Some of them have been notified, haven't they?

- Some houses will be torn down, won't they?

- She hasn't been married before, has she?


- Must, Ought to, May or Might do not make good tag questions.

- When have to is used, the tag becomes a form of do.


Examples :- Mark and Willie don't have to move, do they?

- Mary had to see a doctor, didn't she?

- We don't have to be there by one o'clock, do we?

- The report has to be read by tomorrow; doesn't it?


      A tag question also conveys certain expectation on the part of the speaker. A tag in the affirmative conveys the expectation of a negative answer; a tag in the negative conveys the expectation of an affirmative answer.



Mary is here,

You like tea,

They have left,


isn’t she?

don’t you?

haven’t they?


Yes, she is.

Yes, I do.

Yes, they have.


Mary isn’t here,

You don’t like tea,

They haven’t left,


is she?

do you?

have they?


No, she isn’t.

No, I don’t.

No, they haven’t.







- The tag pronoun for this/that = it.

- The tag pronoun for these/those = they)



- This/That is your book, isn't it?

- This/That isn't your coat, is it?

- These/Those are yours, aren't they?

- These/Those aren't ours, are they?


1) In sentences with there + be, there is used in the tag.


- There is a meeting tonight, isn't there?

- There aren't any empty places, are there?


      2) Personal pronouns are used to refer to indefinite pronouns. They is usually used in a tag to refer to: everyone, everybody, someone, somebody, no one, and nobody.


- Everything is okay, isn't it?

- Everyone took the test, didn't they?


3) Sentences with negative words take affirmative tags Nothing is wrong, is it?

- Nobody called on the phone, did they?

- You’ve never been here, have you?


  4)  A tag question may be spoken :

(1) with a rising intonation if the speaker is truly seeking to ascertain that his/her information; idea, belief is correct.

        - Ann lives in an apartment, doesn't she?

- The car was repaired , wasn't it?

- There aren't any problems, are there? )


(2) with a falling intonation if the speaker is expressing an idea with which s/he is almost certain the listener will agree.

                - It's a nice day today, isn't it?

- You are cold ;aren't you?

- The house wasn't cleaned, was it?)