English grammar – Tag questions


auxiliary verb + subject

  1. We use the same auxiliary verb in the tag as in the main sentence. If there is no auxiliary verb in the main sentence, we use do in the tag.
    • You live in Spain, don’t you?
  2. If the auxiliary verb in the sentence is affirmative, the tag is negative.
    • You’re Spanish, aren’t you?
  3. If the auxiliary verb in the sentence is negative, the tag is affirmative.
    • You’re not Spanish, are you?


  1. We use tag questions to Confirm or check information or ask for agreement.
    • You want to come with me, don’t you?
    • You can swim, can’t you?
    • You don’t know where the boss is, do you?
    • This meal is horrible, isn’t it?
    • That film was fantastic, wasn’t it?
  2. We use tag questions to Check whether something is true.
    • The meeting’s tomorrow at 9am, isn’t it?
    • You won’t go without me, will you?

Additional points

  1. In the present form of be: if the subject is “I”, the auxiliary changes to are or aren’t in the tag question.
    • I’m sitting next to you, aren’t I?
    • I’m a little red, aren’t I?
  2. With let’s, the tag question is shall we?
    • Let’s go to the beach, shall we?
    • Let’s have a coffee, shall we?
  3. With an imperative, the tag question is will you?
    • Close the window, will you?
    • Hold this, will you?
  4. We use an affirmative tag question after a sentence containing a negative word such as never, hardly, nobody.
    • Nobody lives in this house, do they?
    • You’ve never liked me, have you?
  5. When the subject is nothing, we use “it” in the tag question.
    • Nothing bad happened, did it?
    • Nothing ever happens, does it?
  6. If the subject is nobody, somebody, everybody, no one, someone or everyone, we use “they” in the tag question.
    • Nobody asked for me, did they?
    • Nobody lives here, do they?
  7. If the main verb in the sentence is have (not an auxiliary verb), it is more common to use do in the tag question.
    • You have a Ferrari, don’t you?
    • She had a great time, didn’t she?
  8. With used to, we use “didn’t” in the tag question.
    • You used to work here, didn’t you?
    • He used to have long hair, didn’t he?
  9. We can use affirmative tag questions after affirmative sentences to express a reaction such as surprise or interest.
    • You’re moving to Brazil, are you?


  1. If we don’t know the answer, it is a real question and we use a rising intonation with the tag question.
    • You don’t know where the boss is, do you? ↗
  2. If we know the answer and are just confirming the information a falling intonation is used with the tag question.
    • That film was fantastic, wasn’t it? ↘

Related grammar points


4 teaching ideas

  1. Cin says:

    After I introduce the topic, we usually play bingo with tag endings. I give students cards like the bingo ones with different tag endings (for example …, did she? …, haven’t they?). Then I take a paper and read the sentence:

    “She went to the supermarket.”

    If they have a possible ending, they cross it out. The idea is to complete the card first. Students enjoy the game a lot! They have to pay attention to the tense and pronoun used.

  2. Indusehgal says:

    Put some sentences and question tags on cards. Stick the sentences on the wall and distribute the cards with question tags among the students. Ask them to move around and put the tag on the appropriate sentence.

  3. Lira Rodri­guez says:

    This is an exercise to test students’ ability to come up with quick answers, and it’s very simple. The main pupose is to speed up students’ minds and enabe them to use the structure as fast as they can.

    Make a list of sentences covering most structures and tenses (affirmative and negative in random order). You read out one of your sentences in the list and assign one of your students to come up with the proper tag. The student has only one chance to answer. If they are wrong, you go to the next student for the right tag. You should get the right tag before moving on.This exercise is fast and there are no explanations on why the answers they come up with are right or wrong. Students realize their mistakes through their classmates’ answers.

    They get a little stressed out because when their turn comes, they tend to panic trying to think of the right tag. This is good because it gets their minds used to responding quickly and directly in English and avoids over-thinking structures and translating from their native language.

  4. Ramzy Metwaly says:

    You forgot to tell us the difference between let’s…? and let us… in suggestions and requests
    1 – Let’s go to the zoo, shall we?
    2 – Let us go to the zoo, will you?

    However I think this is the best explanation for tag question on the internet, thanks.

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