How do we use “question tags” in English?

If we want to ask for information we usually use the standard question form. However, sometimes we just want to keep a conversation going, or confirm information. In this case, question tags are often used to solicit input or confirmation to what we are saying. Using question tags well also promotes a understanding of the use of various auxiliary verbs. There are five ways in which we normally use question tags and they are easily explained here.

1. Positive/negative

If the main part of the sentence is positive, the question tag is negative.

“He’s a doctor, isn’t he?”

“You work in a bank, don’t you?” ( Note that if there is not an auxiliary use do, does, or didn’t at the end of the sentence)

If the main part of the sentence is negative, the question tag is positive.

“You haven’t met him, have you?”

“She isn’t coming, is she?”

2. With auxiliary verbs

The question tag uses the same verb as the main part of the sentence. If this is an auxiliary verb (‘have’, ‘be’) then the question tag is made with the auxiliary verb.

For example:

“They’ve gone away for a few days, haven’t they?”

“They weren’t here, were they?”

“He had met him before, hadn’t he?”

“This isn’t working, is it?”

3. Without auxiliary verbs

If the main part of the sentence doesn’t have an auxiliary verb, the question tag uses an appropriate form of ‘do’.

For example:

“I said that, didn’t I?”

“You don’t recognise me, do you?”

“She eats meat, doesn’t she?”

4. With modal verbs

If there is a modal verb in the main part of the sentence the question tag uses the same modal verb.

For example:

“They couldn’t hear me, could they?”

“You won’t tell anyone, will you?”

5. With ‘I am’

Be careful with question tags with sentences that start ‘I am’. The question tag for ‘I am’ is ‘aren’t I?’

“I’m the fastest, aren’t I?”

or in a negative form we use the same “am” form at the end as in the positive form of the sentence.

 “I’m not fat , am I?”

Perfect! You’ve learnt a lot today, haven’t you? If you have any questions, let us know! Did you also know that ABA English has a complete online course which runs from beginner level to business. It is completely free to sign up to the course. What are you waiting for? Start learning English today.



  1. Good lesson, very useful indeed.
    I must confess that I don’t find it easy to use question tags, because I normally prefer using affirmations or questions.
    It’s probably a matter of changing my attitude and as I’m a good student, I must become a good speaker, mustn’t I?

  2. What would be the ques tag of “Good morning”

    • Hi!

      “Good morning” is a greeting, not a question tag. But if someone was having a good morning, you could say: “You are having a great morning, aren’t you?”

      Hope that helped!

    • Dont I? Actually the sentence is…I wish you good morning, dont I?

  3. will you help me to learn

  4. Enter your comment here…Question Tag For This…The Teacher Want To Write On The Board?

  5. Very nice!We’ve learnt from this something new,haven’t we?

  6. Someone asked me this Q:You have not gone to the NC have you ?I answered No,I haven`t to mean that I haven`t gone.Is that a right answer?

  7. What about this?
    If you study hard,you will pass the exam.

    Plz help ,tnx .

  8. I wish I had brought my cardigan. ? What is question tag for it.

    • George

      We don’t tend to use the question tags with ourselves. In this case we would not tend to use a question tag.

    • don`t I? Here principal clause is …I wish.generally we consider principal clause to make tag question.

  9. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on how to use question tags in english.

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