Question Tags: Positive and Negative

  • このエントリーをはてなブックマークに追加

Much of this will be somewhat familiar to speakers of Asiatic languages. For example, Hindi, Japanese, and Arabic use tags at the end of sentences to alter their meaning. 

Simply, in English, Question Tags are tacked onto the end of declarative (stating) or imperative (commanding) sentences to make them interrogative, these small phrases are used to transform a statement into questions. 

Interestingly, Question Tags come across as an afterthought, but these phrases are intentionally placed. And, most often, Positive/Negative Question Tags are deployed by native English speakers when the listener is expected to agree.

For example, you may encounter an English speaker saying “It’s hot today, isn’t it?” It would be atypical to hear this on a day below 26℃ Celsius. The listener would reply with a simple, but heartfelt, “Yes, it is!” 

Image representation as per explanation above

What about syntax?

Is there a reliable way to reproduce positive/negative question tag sentences?

There is a method to it all. To begin, form a declarative sentence: Noun Group, Verb Group, Noun Group, and add “Isn’t it (or another interrogative phrase, like “isn’t he/she /is it/are they/are we ),” at the end. Here are a few examples:

“Johnson’s house is really big, isn’t it?”

“They are pretty, aren’t they?”

“It’s red, is it?” 

A little more about grammar

Can you parse the sentence for me? When parsing sentences that contain a Positive/Negative Question Tag, an interesting pattern arises. The pattern is as follows:

When parsing sentences that contain a Positive/Negative Question Tag, an interesting pattern arises. The pattern is as follows:

Noun Phrase| Verb Phrase| Noun Phrase| Comma| Verb Phrase| Noun Phrase| Question Mark

Keep this in mind when making your own Question Tag sentences. 

Examples of Negative and Positive Question Tags

Our flight is tomorrow, isn’t it?

They aren’t coming to the party, are they? 

Let’s practice 

Q1: Add a Question Tag to the following statement. Our final exam is next week.

Answer: Our final exam is next week, isn’t it? 

Add a Question Tag to the following statement. He didn’t find his wallet. 

Answer: He didn’t find his wallet, did he?

Q2: Try making your own sentence.

Q3: You have been abroad, haven’t you?

Eigooo the Chat English Training application

To train your English, the best way is to use English every day.

Eigooo supports you by 24/7 service with a real teacher.

You can: 

  • Chat with the teacher one on one.
  • The teacher will make an immediate correction to your messages.
  • No need for a reservation. You can start whenever you want. 
  • The free trial is ready. 

Sign up now and get free messages to try it out


  • このエントリーをはてなブックマークに追加

SNSでもご購読できます。