Some Question Tags use the Auxiliary Verb, but these little action words are nothing to fear. An Auxiliary Verb simply demonstrates tense. For example, can versus could. At this point, we know when to deploy Auxiliary Verbs.
Note: These sentences elicit somewhat complex answers, not merely “yes” or “no” like our earlier lesson, Positive/Negative Question Tags.
Question tags, with or without Auxiliary Verbs are contextually interesting. They transform declarative and imperative statements into interrogative sentences. furthermore, they are often used to communicate irony, insults, and alternate usages of a word. Here’s an example that both use an Auxiliary Verb and express irony.
Speaker 1: “In the ‘90s, I was big in New Orleans.”
Speaker 2: “You were big, weren’t you? The fattest Blues singer in the city!”
What about syntax?
Is there a reliable way to reproduce auxiliary verb question tag sentences? In the final phrase of the sentence “you were big, weren’t you,” we tacked on the Auxiliary Verb Group “weren’t you,” to create a Question Tag. Here’s a breakdown of a similar sentence:
“It was heavy, wasn’t it?”
“It” (Noun) “was” (Verb) “heavy” (Noun) [a Comma] “wasn’t” (Auxiliary Verb) and the Noun “it [Question Mark]”
Examples Auxiliary Verb Question Tags
The parcel hasn’t arrived, has it?
They did their homework, didn’t they?
Q1: Add a Question Tag to the following statement. We have work tomorrow.
Answer: We have work tomorrow, haven’t we?
Add a Question Tag to the following statement. Clive doesn’t need this pen.
Answer: Clive doesn’t need this pen, does he?
Q2: Try making your own statement.
Q3: You have determination, don’t you?
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