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Typically, when we ask for confirmation/denial of a statement, we say something like the following:

We turn left here, don't we?
You have a cat, don't you?
We've met before, haven't we?

pairing a positive statement with a negative question, or

We don't need that, do we?
You don't know anything about this, do you?

pairing a negative statement with a positive question.

However, sometimes positive statements are paired with a positive question

We take a left, do we?
You had to be a big shot, did you?
You've been to Prague, have you?

Is this correct? Does it change the meaning in any way? Are the three forms interchangeable?

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The lase set sounds unnatural, or at least unfamiliar, to me. –  Kris Apr 17 '12 at 22:05
    
@Kris I agree, unless you read them with a very sarcastic tone, "oh, we take a left do we? I guess you know everything!" –  Cameron Apr 17 '12 at 22:17
    
Indeed, each question in the third set sounds awkward. What you might hear, though, is "You've been to Prague, right?" which can lead to some humorous confusion with the initial example, i.e.: "We take a left, right?" –  J.R. Apr 18 '12 at 1:17

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

No, they aren't interchangeable. A tag question is a device used to turn a statement into a question. It nearly always consists of a pronoun, a helping verb, and sometimes the word not. Although it begins as a statement, the tag question prevails when it comes to the end-mark: use a question mark. Notice that when the statement is positive, the tag question is expressed in the negative; when the statement is negative, the tag question is positive. There are a few exceptions to this, frequently expressing an element of surprise or sarcasm.

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