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English Grammar Reference: Question Tags

Question tags are very common in conversation.
They can be rhetorical:
It's a nice day, isn't it?
I know it's a nice day, I don't really need to ask you but I want you to respond.

That was a a good concert, wasn't it?
I know it was a good concert but let's talk about it.

And they can be used to check information when we aren't 100% sure.

You're leaving at 3 o'clock, aren't you?
I think you told me this but I want to be sure.

Your mother's from Peru, isn't she?
I think I remember you telling me this but I'd like you to confirm it.

When the sentence is positive, the question tag is negative. When the sentence is negative, the question tag is positive. The auxiliary we use to make the question tag depends on the tense.

Look at the construction in the:

Present simple

Subject + positive verb

negative auxiliary + subject pronoun

You go to work every Monday,

don't you?

They live in Spain,

don't they?

Subject + negative verb

positive auxiliary + subject pronoun

You don't eat meat,

do you?

John doesn't drink alcohol,

does he?


Past simple

Subject + positive verb

negative auxiliary + subject pronoun

You went to work last Monday,

didn't you?

They lived in Spain,

didn't they?

Subject + negative verb

positive auxiliary + subject pronoun

You didn't eat meat,

did you?

John didn't drink alcohol,

did he?


Present continuous

Subject + positive verb

negative auxiliary + subject pronoun

You're going to work,

aren't you?

They are living in Spain,

aren't they?

Subject + negative verb

positive auxiliary + subject pronoun

You aren't eating meat,

are you?

John isn't drinking alcohol,

is he?


Past continuous

Subject + positive verb

negative auxiliary + subject pronoun

You were going to work,

weren't you?

They were living in Spain,

weren't they?

Subject + negative verb

positive auxiliary + subject pronoun

You weren't eating meat,

were you?

John wasn't drinking alcohol,

was he?


Future with going to

Subject + positive verb

negative auxiliary + subject pronoun

You are going to go to work,

aren't you?

They are going to live in Spain,

aren't they?

Subject + negative verb

positive auxiliary + subject pronoun

You aren't going to eat meat,

are you?

John isn't going to drink alcohol,

is he?


Future with will

Subject + positive verb

negative auxiliary + subject pronoun

You will go to work,

won't you?

They will live in Spain,

won't they?

Subject + negative verb

positive auxiliary + subject pronoun

You won't eat meat,

will you?

John won't drink alcohol,

will he?


Present Perfect Simple

Subject + positive verb

negative auxiliary + subject pronoun

You have worked,

haven't you?

They have lived in Spain,

haven't they?

Subject + negative verb

positive auxiliary + subject pronoun

You haven't eaten meat,

have you?

John hasn't drunk alcohol,

has he?


Present Perfect Continuous

Subject + positive verb

negative auxiliary + subject pronoun

You have been working,

haven't you?

They have been living in Spain,

haven't they?

Subject + negative verb

positive auxiliary + subject pronoun

You haven't been eating meat,

have you?

John hasn't been drinking alcohol,

has he?


Past Perfect Simple

Subject + positive verb

negative auxiliary + subject pronoun

You had been working,

hadn't you?

They'd been living in Spain,

hadn't they?

Subject + negative verb

positive auxiliary + subject pronoun

You hadn't eaten meat,

had you?

John hadn't drunk alcohol,

had he?


Past Perfect Continuous

Subject + positive verb

negative auxiliary + subject pronoun

You'd been working,

hadn't you?

They had been living in Spain,

hadn't they?

Subject + negative verb

positive auxiliary + subject pronoun

You hadn't been eating meat,

had you?

John hadn't been drinking alcohol,

had he?


Modal verbs

Subject + positive verb

negative auxiliary + subject pronoun

You would work,

wouldn't you?

They must live in Spain,

mustn't they?

Subject + negative verb

positive auxiliary + subject pronoun

You shouldn't eat meat,

should you?

John can't drink alcohol,

can he?