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Question Without Question and Tag Questions


As a rule, such speech formation is not even a question – it is more a clarification, a confirmation request. So, how can such a clarification be built and written in English?

Just Say the Usual Sentence in Interrogative Intonation (Bad Option)

It is done this way in many languages. If there were not the question mark, it could not be distinguished from the statement. That is what the Italians do, for example, the question differs from the statement only in intonation (on the letter, of course, this is marked with a question mark at the end of the sentence).

English grammar does not allow such an option – you will most likely be understood, but the feeling of a very illiterate speech from clumsy pseudo-questioning sentence will remain.

Add a Special Question Word "Right?" at the End of the Sentence (Good Conversational Option)

The Germans for this case have a wonderful word "oder" (literally, "or"). It is added to almost any sentence. In English it will sound like this: "You understand me, or?", "Good weather, or? ".

And in English, there is a very simple word to very quickly make a question – "right?".

You have an evening shift today, right?

This dog is very big, right?

Cognition of the world begins with cognition of yourself, right?

According to formal grammatical rules, this is not the question – to do the question, we add one more sentence, "am I right?", in which we then remove "am I" in a colloquial way. Only one word works and the tendency of reduction is fully justified in this case.

The interjection "huh" is even more conversational version. It should be noted that this is not a laugh or an expression of joy at the end of hard work. This is the calm and even slightly ironic exclamation.

It seems that you again came a little malapropos, huh.

This word can express the most opposite feelings, from curiosity and surprise to mistrust and indifference. A great interjection for training acting skills, huh?

And you said that today you will not come, huh?

In my opinion, it got colder, huh?

What an interesting conversation you have, I seem to have missed a lot, huh?

So, if you want to ask a question, and the whole grammar has flown out of your head, do not use only interrogative intonation. Add "right?" or "huh?" and the question is ready.

Tag Questions

Such words serve the same purpose – to do question from the narrative sentence. How does it work? In general, a tag is a thing that is attached to clothes in a store. So we attach a special tag, which must be done according to simple rules, to the sentence:

  1. Define auxiliary verb – if you see a modal verb (can, must), a service verb (for example, would), some of the forms of the verb to be (are, is, was, etc.) – that it is. If you do not see it – it is do or does;
  2. Invert the service verb. We remove not, if it is present, we add it, if it is absent;
  3. The subject (who or what does the action) is changed to a suitable pronoun (I, you, he, they).

For example, we have narrative sentences and we attach a tag to them:

What an interesting performance, is not it?

I cannot get this fork, can I?

You speak French, do not you?

We complicate the task. In the sentence with have, in theory, we must use the service verb … What verb is the service one in such a sentence?

I have a piano.

The question will be constructed in the same way as with an ordinary verb. This is the simplest and right option.

I have a piano, do not I?

You had some problems, did not you?

She has evening classes every day, do not she?

In the case with have to the situation is similar.

I have to clean the room, do not I?

He has to carry out the assignment, does not he?

If it is a question of have as an auxiliary verb of perfect times, then it is constructed appropriately:

We have made it right, have not we?

I have asked a hundred times not to do that, have not I?

"I Will Never Forget You"

If the sentence is constructed with words never, nobody, nothing, the tag should be affirmative:

You have nothing to say, do you?

We never lie, do we?

Moreover, such adverbs as hardly, seldom, rarely are also used in the same way.

I rarely make mistakes in people, do I?

I hardly imagined that, did I?

There Is and There Are

The pronoun there from there is, there are remains the same.

There is a good place for dinner, is not it?

There is not an interesting opinion, is it?

"Let Us Do It"

In this case, the pronoun in the tag question is we. And the verb is shall.

Let us try to figure it out,shall we?

Let us not go for a walk in the criminal areas anymore, shall we?

And this "shall we?" can be safely taken out of context and used as a polite invitation, adding a verb if necessary.

"I Am Director, …?"

And how to put tag question to to be in the first person? You can ask a question in three ways:

  1. Ain’t I? This is a very conversational form, which is almost never mentioned in any textbooks, but it perfectly exists in colloquial speech and songs;
  2. Am I not? Grammatically perfect, but it sounds a little dramatic, it remains to get into the actor's pose and raise your hands to heaven;
  3. Are not I? It is the most common form. Yes, grammatically it is really going too far and it is unlikely to be met in academic grammars, but that is what ordinary Americans would say.

How to Respond to a Tag Question?

Always answer the main part of the question (not the tag), as if the particle no is absent. Namely:

Bad weather, is not it? – Yes, it is.

You did not do the job, did you? – No, I did not.

By the way, the phrases "Yes, I am not ..." and "No, I am" blow up the brain of native speakers of English, so they are completely meaningless and full of unresolved internal contradictions.

Another way to use tag questions is to make your request a bit politer.

Give me these documents, can you?

Let me go, will you?

And finally, a comment for advanced students. Sometimes, in moments of intense surprise, excitement, anger, etc. the verb in the tag question is not inverted.

You wrote a book, did you?

So you never heard this song, did not you?

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