Tag questions are small questions added to the end of a statement, for example:

That is a dog, isn't it?

The Structure of Tags

Here are a range of tag questions:

..., won't you?
..., can't you?
..., shouldn't you?
..., don't they?
..., isn't it?
..., won't it?

Note the structural elements:

  • The first element contains a verb, often 'to be' or 'to do', and is often a repetition of the verb used in the statement.
  • The verb is made negative, in the short form.
  • The second element is a pronoun.

Using Tag Questions

Use tag questions to emphasize and encourage the other person to agree with you. They turn a strong statement into a question that is difficult to disagree with.

Gaining Agreement

Make a strong statement and add a tag question:

They will finish, won't they?
I am the best person for the job, aren't I?
This is the best way to do it, isn't it?
She's the best person for the job, isn't she?
There aren't enough seats for the meeting, are there?
We should buy this equipment as soon as possible, shouldn't we?

Gaining Compliance

Start with what you want the other person to do, and then end with a tag such as 'won't you' or 'can't you'.

You won't let me know, will you?
You will come to the dance, won't you?
You can do this today, can't you?
You can't force him to do it, can you?
 
Menu