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Is the sentence "The apples are red, aren't they?" grammatically correct? If i remove the contraction it becomes, "The apples are red, are not they?" which does not sound right to me.

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"Aren't they?" is perfectly acceptable, though you're right that "are not they?" sounds a little strange - you'd say "are they not?" if you wanted to avoid the contraction, though to my ears this sounds overly... dramatic?

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    It's more than "a little strange"; it's ungrammatical. Tag questions with negatives should be contracted whenever possible, and if they're not, then the negative goes after the subject, not before it -- i.e, , are they not? is grammatical, but *, are not they? isn't. Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 17:19

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