In German, you often add the question word oder after a statement (", oder?") to ask whether the statement's correct. What is the equivalent of oder in English?

I always begin sentences with this scheme and then don't know how to finish them. Must I change my question structure for such questions?

I know that you can ask whether a statement's correct by asking a negative like this:

You were in school last week, weren't you?

With this, you also have to restructure your sentence in most cases

How about this?:

You were in school last week, right?

Is this structure used often or is this just a bad solution to the problem?

closed as general reference by RegDwigнt May 7 '13 at 8:49

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.

  • Either sounds fine - I have a harder time finding a version of "ne?" – mplungjan May 7 '13 at 7:48
  • okay. "ne?" is just slang. some accent have it, some not. but in the end its the same like "oder?" – Postback May 7 '13 at 7:50
  • In most cases of spoken english, which is where this seems to apply, you could do without any clarification word at the end of the sentence. Intonation, especially vocal rising at the end of those sentences, would indicate that your statements are actually questions. – tylerharms May 7 '13 at 8:03
  • in this example above OK, there you just can raise the vocal. but what if you have this situation where you dont remember exactly what it was: A: Last week were holidays. You were in brazil? That sounds more like i just ask a random country where he could have been, but doesnt sound like i'm just not 100% sure if it was this. – Postback May 7 '13 at 8:12
  • I am not following how you "have to restructure your sentence in most cases" to simply apply a tag question. That is simply not true (as your very own example aptly demonstrates). Anyway, the one-size-fits-all tag question in English is right, or innit, as I am sure a good bilingual dictionary will be quick to point out. As it stands, I am not seeing how this is a question for this site. Translation questions are best taken to our chat. – RegDwigнt May 7 '13 at 8:49

Google Translate says that "Du bist ein Seemann, oder?" means "You're a sailor, right?"

Therefore, I'd say that that oder means right/correct in this context. This translation is idiomatic English.

"You're a sailor, aren't you?" = "Du bist ein Seemann, nicht wahr?", according to Google Translate. That seems to accord with what I learned in German.

What do you think?

  • yes oder is used to ask if it was right/correct. so also english peoples use these methods? ..., right? - ..., aren't you? – Postback May 7 '13 at 8:39
  • 2
    I don't know about whether this is true in German with oder, but right often sounds a bit confrontational or at least brusque when tagged on this way. , unless I'm mistaken. or ... , yes? might be gentler. – Edwin Ashworth May 7 '13 at 8:48
  • There are a lot of possible tags. Distinguishing between them is as hard as distinguishing between Gm nicht wahr?, oder?, and na, und? – John Lawler May 7 '13 at 15:37

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