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.


1 Answer 1


"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?

  • 1
    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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.