A Question tag is used at the end of a sentence for confirmation of the statement given in the sentence. It contains a pronoun according to the Subject of the sentence and an auxiliary verb according to the sentence in contracted form. If there is no auxiliary verb and there is a main verb only in the sentence, do, does or did are used in question tag.
If the statement in the sentence is positive, a negative question tag is used and if the statement is negative, a positive question tag is used.
Tense in the tag is determined by the tense in the sentence.
The girl is singing a song, isn't she?
The girl is not singing a song, is she?
The boys did not play a match, did they?
The boys will play a match, won't they?
If there is no auxiliary verb in the sentence, a helping verb e.g. do, does or did are used in the question tag.
Boys play cricket, don't they?
Boys played a match, didn't they?
In case of 'I am' , in the statement, 'aren't I' is used.
I am thirsty, aren't I?
If the statement in the sentence contains a negative word, a positive question tag is used.
He seldom smokes, does he?
A few of negative words are --
Scarcely, hardly, rarely, barely, seldom, no, nothing, neither, few, none etc.
Question tag in case of 'Must' --
You must be feeling hungry, aren't you?
You must read this book, won't you?
Question tag in case of 'Ought to' --
Negative of 'ought to' is 'ought not to' and interrogative is 'ought subject to' but these are not used these days and 'Should' is preferred in its place. However it is --
He ought to work hard, ought he not to ?
She ought not to say so, ought she to?
EXERCISES FOR PRACTICE
Add question tag in blanks in the following sentences.
1. Let's go out for a walk......?
1. will we? 2. will you? 3. shall we?
2. She has purchased a new car........?
1.had she? 2.hasn't she? 3.has she?
3. They have a beautiful house.........?
1.do they? 2. haven't they? 3. don't they?
4. I am very busy today......?
1. aren't I? 2.am n't I ? 3. am I?
5. Do not waste your time.......?
1. will you?2. won't you? 3. do you?
1. I and you are good friends.....?
1. aren't you? 2. aren't we? 3. aren't they?
2. Have a cup of tea with us........?
1. won't you? 2. aren't you? 3. Wil you?
3. He and his wife don't agree with each other......?
1. doesn't he? 2. don't they? 3. do they?
4. He'd not finished his work yet .....?
1. had he? 2. hadn't he? 3.hasn't he?
5. Somebody has picked his pocket......?
1. hasn't he? 2. haven't they? 3. hasn't they?
1. He seldom smokes.....?
1. does he?2. doesn't he? 3. don't he?
2. Nobody is present in the room, ........?
1. are they? 2. aren't they? 3. isn't he?
3. Everybody was happy there .......?
1. weren't we? 2. weren't they? 3. aren't they?
4. She never tells a lie, .........?
1. does she? 2. doesn't she? 3. did she?
5. She has hardly any money, ........?
1. hasn't she 2. does she? 3. has she?
1. Make hay while the sun shines,..........?
1. don't you? 2. won't you? 3. can't you?
2. Someone is knocking at the door, ..........?
1. isn't it? 2. isn't he? 3. aren't they?
3. Shift the whole luggage to a safe place,........?
1. do you? 2. will you? 3. have you?
4. Those are my books, ..........?
1. aren't they? 2. aren't those? 3. are they?
5. He must be tired by now, ...........?
1. must he be? 2. isn't he? 3. wasn't he?
1. The secretary immediately quit his post,.........?
1. does he? 2. doesn't he? 3. didn't he?
2. We must obey our parents, ...........?
1. don't we? 2. won't we? 3. do we?
3. Nobody expected that he would come,............?
1. didn't they? 2. did they? 3. won't they?
4. The jury held the accused guilty,..........?
1. didn't they? 2. did they? 3. didn't it?
5. Those who talk too much are seldom listened to, ...........?
A Question tag is a short question at the end of the sentence and it is supported by an auxiliary verb.
Between sentence and question tag there is a comma and at the end of the sentence there is a question mark.
In fact, a question tag is not a question but it is just a confirmation of the statement given in the sentence.
He is an artist, isn't he?
She paints a painting, doesn't she?
Please note that a question tag is incontinuity of the sentence with a comma at the end of the sentence and it starts with a small letter.
There are certain rules governing these question tags.
For example :
Subject in question tag must be according to the subject in the sentence.
The subject in a question tag is always a Pronoun. It can not be a Noun.
There are generally two verbs auxiliary and main verbs used in a sentence. In a question tag auxiliary verb is used if it is there in the sentence but in case of a main verb only, do,did or does, according to the tense and number of subject, is used in a question tag.
The auxiliary verb in question tag must be in contracted form.
Tense in the question tag must be according to the tense of the sentence.
If the statement is positive, the tag will be negative and if the statement is negative, the tag will be positive.
In case of 'I am' in the statement, 'aren't I' is used in the question tag.
I am a regular visitor, aren't I?
In case of the pronoun, everything as a subject in the sentence, singular pronoun 'it' is used in question tag but in case of the pronoun everybody, pronoun 'they' is used.
Everything is in order, isn't it?
Everybody is happy, aren't they?
In case of negative words like rarely, hardly, seldom or scarcely etc. in the statement, positive question tag is used.
We rarely go to the market, do we?
A few of these negative words are as follow :
No, Never, None, Neither, Nothing, Few, Hardly, Scarcely, Barely, Seldom etc.
Question Tag in Case of Indefinite Subject Pronouns :
i) Subject Pronoun Always As Singular :
There are certain Subject Pronouns which are always used as Singular. For example :
Someone, Everyone, Anyone, Anything, Something Nobody, No one, Each, Every, Another, Either, Neither, Much, Little, Less etc.
If this word refers to 'people' , 'they' is used in question tag. Auxiliary verb according to the subject is used. For example :
Everyone is happy, aren't they?
Nobody feels bad, do they?
If this word refers to 'a thing' , 'it' is used in question tag. Auxiliary verb according to the subject is used. For example :
Something is missing, isn't it?
Everything went well, didn't it?
ii) Subject Pronoun Always As Plural :
There are certain Subject Pronouns which are always used as Plural. For example :
Both, Few, Many, Fewer, Several, Various etc.
In case of these words 'they' is used and auxiliary verb according to the subject is used in question tag. For example:
Both are fast friends, aren't they?
Few articles were left, weren't they?
iii) Subject Pronoun Both As Singular And Plural :
There are certain Subject Pronouns which are used as both Singular and Plural. For example :
All, Some, Most, Anymore etc.
If these words relate to a single thing or uncountable things, 'It' is used and accordingly auxiliary verb is used in the question tag.
For example :
All is well, isn't it?
This jug contains some water, doesn't it?
If these words relate to plural or countable things, 'they' is used and auxiliary verb according to it is used in the question tag.
For example :
All were drenched in the rain, weren't they?
Flowers are beautiful, aren't they?
Question Tag in case of 'This, These, That And Those'.
In case of these words, 'it' is used in case of singular things and 'they' is used in case of plural things. For example :
This is my book, isn't it?
Those are your clothes, aren't they?
Question Tag in case of 'Imperative words'.
In case of imperative words, 'will you' or 'would you' is used
in question tag. For example :
Stand up, will you?
Stop writing, won't you?
Question Tag in case of 'Let's'.
In case of 'Let's' 'shall we' is used. For example :
Let's go out for a walk, shall we?
Question Tag in case of words like ' I've, He's, They've, you've, I'd, He'd, you'd etc.'
Question tags in case of these words are formed according to sense and meaning of these words in the sentence as 'I'd' implies I did, I had and I would etc. He's implies He is , He has, He was etc. So question tags are used according the implied auxiliary verb used in the sentence.
Here follow some sentences to elucidate the point.
You'd like to accompany us, won't you?
I'd finished my work, hadn't I?
He's not done his work, has he?
She'd not learnt her lesson, had she?
In competition examination questions are given with incorrect questions tags. The error in question tag is required to be located and rectified.
For example :
Children are playing in the garden, don't they?
The question tag in this sentence is incorrect.
It should be -
Children are playing in the garden, aren't they?
Here follow some sentences with blanks in place of question tags. It is required to select and fill in the correct form of question tag in the sentences.
Add question tag in space provided in the following sentences.
1. He has a beautiful bag .........?
1. hasn't he ? 2. hadn't he ? 3.doesn't he?
2. She is singing a song..........?
1. doesn't she? 2. hasn't she? 3. isn't she?
3. Birds chirp in the tree.......?
1. don't they? 2. didn't they? 3. do they?
4. The child doesn't cry ........?
1. doesn't it ? 2. does it? 3. don't they?
5. They had helped the poor.......?
1. didn't they? 2. hadn't they? 3. had they?
6. She has written a short story, .........?
1. has she? 2. does she? 3. hasn't she?
7. Girls were plucking flowers......?
1. weren't they? 2. were they? 3. did they?
8. Boys have been playing a match.......?
1. have they? 2. haven't they? 3. haven't they been?
9. The hunter chased the deer.....?
1.didn't they? 2. didn't he? 3. didn't it?
10. It has been raining for two days.....?
1. hasn't it? 2. hasn't it been? 3. had it been?
EXERCISES FOR PRACTICE
Select and fill in appropriate question tag in
space provided in the following sentences.
1. Let's move now, ............
1. shall we?2. have we?3. do we?
2. Don't disturb me, .........?
1. do you? 2. will you? 3. did you?
3. She's got a new car......?
1. hasn't she? 2. had she? 3. does she?
4. He's a big house,.....?
1. does he? 2. has he? 3. is he?
5. Keep quiet, .......?
1. will you?2. do you? 3. could you?
6. She'd never been to this place earlier,......?
1. had she? 2. did she? would she?
7. Let's study together, .....?
1. will you? 2. would you? 3. shall we?
8. Don't stand on ceremony,......?
1. do you? 2. will you?3.would you?
9. Several students left the classroom,......?
1. didn't they? 2. would they? 3. had they?
10. All the students appeared in the examination, ...........?
1. did they? 2. were they 3. didn't they?
1. Neither he nor his friends are present in the class,............?
1. aren't they? 2. won't they ? 3. do they? 4. are they?
2. Someone is calling you there, ..........?
1. are they? 2. aren't they? 3. is someone? 4. Isn't someone?
3. Now attend to the teacher, ..........?
1. do you? 2. don't you ? 3. will you? 4. aren't you?
4. One should keep one's promises,.............?
1. doesn't one? 2. Should he? 3. Shouldn't one? 4. Should one?
5. One of her sisters is very tall, .............?
As subject and verb agreement is necessary for a proper meaning of the sentence similarly proximity of the relative pronoun or clause to Subject is also necessary for conveying proper meaning and sense of the sentence.
I saw a child in the garden who was playing with a ball.
This sentence gives the sense that the garden was playing with a ball whereas it should be the child was playing with a ball.
The sentence should be
In the garden, I saw a child who was playing with a ball.
In competition examinations there are sentences with inappropriate arrangement of Subject or object with the relative pronoun or the relative clause which describe them. The error is required to be located and rectified.
Here follow some sentences which elaborate the point.
Walking on the road a bull hit him.
This sentence gives the sense that the bull was walking on the road whereas it should be he was walking on the road. It is because clause containing the word walking is close to bull. Instead it should be close to he.
Sometimes passive voice instead of active voice is required to be used. As in this sentence-
Walking on the road, he was hit by a bull. OR
While he was walking on the road, a bull hit him.
1. Having paid his all dues, the authorities released the orders of John's membership renewal.
2. Being the eldest son his parents expected him to extend help in the business of the family.
3. Going by the roadside, a speeding car hit him, he fell down on the ground and got injured.
4. All of a sudden a young lady appeared on the stage, with long hair and black complexions and she started addressing the audience sitting there.
5. Being a rainy day both the teams decided to abandon the match of the day.
1. This sentence means that John paid his dues and as a consequence of that the authorities released the orders. But it gives impression that the authorities paid his dues.
Subject 'the authorities' has its verb released. The verb 'Having paid' has no subject.
So it should be--
John having paid his dues, the authorities...
It can be changed as....
Having received his dues, the authorities released.....
2. In this sentence the clause 'being the eldest son' has no subject. 'His parents' is subject and 'expected' is verb This subject cannot be common for the clause because it gives a wrong meaning. According to 'him' the subject here should be 'He'. The sentence will be-
He being the eldest son, his parents expected him to extend help in the business of the family.
3. In this sentence active voice gives an incorrect meaning for a proper sense and meaning it should be in passive form.
Going by the roadside, he was hit by a speeding car, he fell down on the ground and got injured.
4.This sentence the clause 'with long hair and black complexions' is wrongly placed. It should be with which it describes. As it describes the young lady so it should be with this part. The sentence can be changed as follows-
All of a sudden appeared on the stage, a young lady with long hair and black complexions and she started addressing the audience sitting there.
OR it can be -
All of a sudden a young lady with long hair and black complexions appeared on the stage, and she started addressing the audience sitting there.
5. In this sentence the clause 'being a rainy day' requires a subject. In case of sentences relating to weather the subject 'it' is used. The sentence will be -
It being a rainy day both the teams decided to abandon the match of the day.
1. Having broken down, the driver decided to get the car repaired and discontinue the journey.
2. Being the beginning of the year, the chairman of the company decided to enhance the production of goods so that customers' demand is met with.
3. Gratitude is an essential virtue for real inner prosperity and happiness which connects us with the divine.
4. The culprit pleaded for mercy to the judge who was accused of theft and murder charges.
Subject and Verb play a pivotal role in the formation of a sentence. Both these must be in consonance with each other. Subject which is either a noun or a pronoun has numbers i.e. it has singular or plural numbers and it has also its gender forms. A verb has its forms of Present, Past and Past participle. In view of these, a verb must be in accordance with the subject of the sentence.
For example :
Most of the boys have taken their food.
Each student was given a prize.
He alongwith his friend goes out for a walk.
He and his friend go out for a walk.
Following sentences illustrate the point.
1.The behaviour of the children was(not were) excellent.
2.Four weeks is ( not are) a good time.
3. The cost of all these articles has (not have) risen.
4. Neither of the two candidates is ( not are) suitable.
5. Each one of these men (is) reliable.
6. Every man and every woman in the village was (not were) terrified.
7. Neither praise nor blame seems (seem) to affect her.
8. The king with his all ministers is (not are) coming to the city.
9. Which one of these books is (not are)yours?
10. A knowledge of modern languages is (not are) essential.
1.In this sentence there are two nouns 'the behaviour' and 'the children' joined by conjunction 'of '.The main subject in the sentence is 'the behaviour' and not 'the children'. The subject is singular so a singular verb is required.
2. In this sentence the subject 'four weeks' is a single entity and is treated as singular. So singular verb is required.
3. In this sentence there are two nouns 'the cost ' and 'articles' joined by conjunction 'of '.The main subject in the sentence is 'the cost' and not 'all these articles'. The subject is singular so a singular verb is required.
4. In this sentence 'neither' is a pronoun and is subject. It is always a singular entity. So singular verb is required.
5. 'Each' in this sentence is an adjective describing noun 'one'. Each one is singular so a singular verb is required with it.
6. In such sentences the complete subject is treated as a single entity. Just as in Bread and butter is a good food. For this a singular verb is used.
7.Words like either. neither or each etc are treated as singular and with these a singular verb is required.
8.Two nouns joined with words like 'with, along with, as well as etc.' take verb according to noun preceding these words. In this sentence the king is singular so a singular verb is required.
9. In this sentence one book out of these books is being referred. So as one is singular a singular verb is required.
10.In this sentence there are two nouns 'a knowledge' and 'modern languages' joined by conjunction 'of '. The main subject in the sentence is 'A knowledge' and not 'the languages'. The subject is singular so a singular verb is required.
In competition examinations sentences with incorrect combinations of Subject and Verb are given to identify and rectify the error.
Here follow some sentences for practice.
1. A fluid like a liquid or a gas, unlike solid substances, takes the shape of the container in which they are stored.
2. The absence of fractures and cuts on the face of the skelton are the conclusive proof that the person to whom the skelton belongs did not die a violent death.
3. A group of young boys who was passing by that way came to the rescue of the child drowning in the river.
4. A real friend, very rare in the world of today, is he who shares his all comforts and woes with you and conceal nothing from you.
5. In the present era of competition, promoting sale of goods by advertisement through various agencies have become essential for companies.
6. I purchased some mangoes and oranges from a shop but the quality of mangoes were not good to eat.
7. Five candidates participated in the competition but only the deserving was able to qualify.
8. A major contribution of the freedom fighters are that we are living freely in an independent country today.
9. Whether she gets married now or she remains single throughout her life are her personal problem.
10. The Oldman realised that none of his two sons are capable of handling his business well.