What’s up guys!
Do you sometimes think about different ways in English that you can give confirmation? Today, we are going to have a look at using the verb “to be” to give confirmation in English so that things become a lot more to the interlocutor.
What are question tags?
Question tags are created in English when we change imperative or affirmative/negative statements into questions by adding an interrogative part to the end of the statement.
In terms of structure these are very easy, however using them naturally in spoken English takes a lot of practice.
It is important to note that when we use question tags, if the first part of the statement is affirmative, the question tag will be negative and vice versa.
- She plays tennis, doesn’t she?
- They like films, don’t they?
- You don’t play football, do you?
Question tags with “to be”
Generally question tags are used for confirmation and especially with the verb “to be”.
- He is French, isn’t he?
- She isn’t hungry, is she?
- They aren’t German, are they?
As we can see in these examples, the tag creates emphasis on the point of the sentence encouraging the interlocutor to respond confirming what you have said or provide an answer in its place. It should also be noted that the subject and verb have been inverted in the tag-thus to create the question.
The past tense of “to be” has the same structure when using “question tags”
- He was 10 when he went to Spain, wasn’t he?
- They were at home when the bus crashed, weren’t they?
- She was young when she started school, wasn’t she?
In these examples we are clearly trying to encourage the person we are speaking to, to provide us with an answer to the statement we made- hence the tag.
Is there anything else to know about question tags?
As mentioned, the structure of question tags is generally straight-forward, however there are different rules and auxiliary verbs that need to be adopted when using certain tenses.
We recommend learning them little by little over a period of time so that you get used to them gradually instead of trying to learn all at once.
If you would like more information, you can sign up to the course for free and check out unit 12 for more tips on how to improve question tags in English.