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Business English Skill Set - Small Talk

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Tag Questions

Kate July 21, 2020

What is a tag question?

Tag questions are used to confirm information. They follow the form of a statement (this can be affirmative or negative) + Auxiliary Verb + Subject.

When do we use them?

Tag questions are used to confirm information that we are almost sure is true. They can also be used to invite opinion or to ask if someone agrees with you.

Tag questions convey the same idea as saying “_____ right?”, although as a general rule tag questions are more formal.

Here are some examples:

“You set the alarm before we left, didn’t you?

“You have met Alan before, haven’t you?

“We don’t need a copy of that paper, do we?

“I didn’t leave the computer on, did I?”

In this lesson we will first review how to form short answers using different auxiliaries, which will lead us on to practising using tag questions.

Before we begin, let’s quickly review the auxiliaries we will need, and where to use them.

For a more in-depth review of different tenses and the auxiliaries they use you might find Jen’s English Verb Tenses course useful.

  • Verb to be – Present – Am/Are/Is Past Was/Were
  • Simple Present – Do/Don’t Does/Doesn’t
  • Simple Past – Did/Didn’t
  • Simple Future – Will/Won’t
  • Abilities – Can/Can’t
  • Present Perfect – Have/Haven’t Has/Hasn’t
  • Past Perfect – Had/Hadn’t
  • Recommendations – Should/Shouldn’t
  • Conditional Structures – Could/Couldn’t Would/Wouldn’t

You’re ready now, aren’t you?

Great! Then let’s practise tag questions!