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Which of the following is correct or better? Can they both be used?

  • I'm not making any sense, am I?
  • I'm not making any sense, do I?
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I just wanted to point out to the phrase "Aren't I?" but it only fits contexts like "I am making sense, aren't I?" and is a synonym to "am I not?". –  Pantelis Sopasakis Apr 21 '12 at 23:43
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closed as general reference by Mitch, kiamlaluno, JSBձոգչ, Mahnax, Matt Эллен Aug 22 '12 at 9:21

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

3 Answers

In a question tag, if there is an auxiliary verb in the sentence, you always use it. Otherwise you use the appropriate form of the verb do.

I'm not making any sense, am I?

There are a few exceptions. One is the quasi-modal used to, which used to take usedn't, but doesn't any more.

You used to work here, didn't you?
*You used to work here, usedn't you?

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Use

I'm not making any sense, am I?

I don't make any sense, do I?

Do not use

*I'm not making any sense, do I?

*I don't make any sense, am I?

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It's worth noting that "I'm not making any sense" and "I don't make any sense" are not identical in meaning. "I'm not making any sense" refers to the present, or immediate past; it would usually mean "the last remark I made was nonsensical". In comparison, "I don't make any sense" suggests that I make a habit of not making sense; there's more than just one incident. –  user16269 Apr 21 '12 at 12:22
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The correct form is I'm not making any sense, am I? The implied predicate of am I? is am making, while the implied predicate of the do I? is do making, which is incorrect.


Think of it this way. The sentences really almost say two things:

I'm not making any sense. Am I not making any sense?

I'm not making any sense. Do I not making any sense?

If you reword the last sentence of each example (for clarity's sake; you'd never actually say it like this):

I am not making any sense.

I do not making any sense.

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