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!”
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?
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?
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