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Rules of Tag Questions for Class 9-10 and SSC Students

Dear students, today we’ll learn the rules of Tag Questions. After this lesson, you will learn how to answer tag questions.

What is Tag Question?

Tag Question is a short question that is attached, or “tagged”, to the end of a sentence. Rather than repeat the main verb, a form of “Be” or other Auxiliary Verb or Modal Auxiliary Verb is used in the tag question.

A tag question is used to get the confirmation from the listeners. In SSC and HSC English examination, there is a question of 5 Marks from Tag Question. So it is very important for the students of Secondary and Higher Secondary to learn Question Tag. Besides, it is also important for the learners of English.

See the examples:

  • Man is the maker of his own fate, isn’t he? (Isn’t he the maker of his own fate?)
  • The idle always lag behind, don’t they? (Don’t they lag behind)
  • You are Mr Ripon, aren’t you? (Aren’t you Mr Ripon)

We put these short questions to get the agreement or confirmation from the listener of what you said. They can be used as an indicator of PolitenessEmphasis or Irony.

Rules of Tag Question/ Question Tag

Here I will be giving some easy instructions to make Tag Question. The rules of tag question are not difficult to learn. A Tag Question is formed in the following pattern after a sentence.

Auxiliary verb  +  not (if the sentence is affirmative)  +  Pronoun of Subject + ?

Affirmative/ Negative

If the main part of the sentence is affirmative, the tag question is negative …..
  • Mr Ripon is a professional Blogger, isn’t he?
  • You work in a bank, don’t you?
  • You didn’t study hard, did you? 
  • I know nothing about this, do I?

     

Using Auxiliary Verbs

We use Auxiliary Verbs to make a sentence Negative or Interrogative. So, To make a tag question we use Auxiliary Verbs . They are different in different tenses. See the auxiliary verbs in different tenses.

Tense

Auxiliary Verbs

Present Indefinite

Do/Does

don’t  /doesn’t

Past Indefinite

Did

didn’t

Future Indefinite

Shall/ Will

shan’t / won’t

Present Continuous

Am/ Is/ Are

aren’t,  / isn’t

Past Continuous

Was/ Were

wasn’t  / weren’t

Future Continuous

Shall /  Will

shan’t / won’t

Present Perfect

Have/ Has

haven’t  / hasn’t

Present Perfect

Had

hadn’t

Future Perfect

Shall / Will

shan’t  / won’t

Now see some examples with auxiliary verb in different tenses …..

  • He writes a letter, doesn’t he?
  • He wrote a letter, didn’t he?
  • He will write a letter, won’t he?
  • He is writing a letter, isn’t he?
  • He was writing a letter, wasn’t he?
  • He will be writing a letter, won’t he?
  • He has written a letter, hasn’t he?
  • He had written a letter, hadn’t he?
  • He will have written a letter, won’t he?

Using Modal Verbs

When the main part of sentence has a modal auxiliary verb, we use Modal Verb as Auxiliary verbs. Some Modal Verbs are: can, could, will, would, shall, should, may, might, have to, has to, had to, need to, ought to, dare to, must, etc.

  • We should love our country, shouldn’t we?
  • You won’t tell anyone, will you?
  • You need to wait, needn’t you?

With I’m/ I am

Be careful to make a tag question of the sentence that start with “I’m/ I am”. Use tag question “aren’t I” for “I am.”
  • am very excited, aren’t I?
  • I’m the first, aren’t I?

Some Other Rules

We say ‘let us’ to express proposal but say let me, let him, let them to express request.

Let us /Let’s do the work, shall we?  [Proposal]

but, Let me /Let him /Let them do the work, will you? [Request]

When the main verb is Have, Has, Need, you should use do/does as an auxiliary verb in present tense and did in Past Tense.

He has some books, doesn’t he?    (Has is the main verb in present tense)
but, He has finished the task, hasn’t he?   (Has is the auxiliary verb in present perfect tense)
He had some books, didn’t he?   (Had is the main verb in past tense)
but, He had finished the task, hadn’t he?   (Had is the auxiliary verb in past perfect tense)
I need a pencil to write with, don’t I?  (Need is the main verb)
I need to wait for an hour, needn’t you?  (Need is an auxiliary verb)

If the subject is plural, the pronoun of the subject is always ‘They’
The books are very interesting, are n’t they?

When Subject is nobody, everybody, none, everyone, the pronoun can be ‘Anybody’ or  ‘They’
Nobody loves a liar, do they?/ does anybody?

The words ‘seldom, rare, hardly, few, little, scarcely, no sooner are negative.  Then question tag should be affirmative.

Important Tag Question Exercises with Answers

There is no alternative to practice. So practice tag question exercises yourselves. Please don’t forget to write a comment here. You may ask any question you want to know.

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