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What would be the appropriate question tag for the sentence

"They got the answers yesterday, ______?"

Is haven't they the correct question tag?

I would also like to know the different American and British style in answering this question.

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  • ". . . , right?"
    – Robusto
    Jul 24, 2015 at 13:20
  • ". . . , no?" (damn that 15-char limit!) Jul 24, 2015 at 13:59
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    @Meelah's answer nails it. Since the auxiliary is all that shows up when using the rule of Tag-formation, an auxiliary is required. So if there isn't a handy auxiliary (as there isn't with They got the answers yesterday), another rule, called Do-support, supplies a dummy auxiliary do, suitably inflected (i.e, here it's did) for you to negate, contract to didn't, and invert with the subject. Do-support do has no meaning; it's just a cogwheel in the syntactic machinery. Jul 24, 2015 at 15:11
  • so if i say "They got the answers yersterday, haven't they".. am i correct... Jul 24, 2015 at 15:54
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    I think your confusion comes from the fact that in some dialects of American English (particularly AAVE and many southern dialects), got is used colloquially as a shortened form of have got in the sense have; so to @Mari-Lou’s examples, we can add 3) “We got a house” (AmE only). The tag questions would be: (BrE) 1) “…haven’t we?” or “…don’t we?”, 2) “…haven’t we?” — (AmE) 1) and 2) “…don’t we?” (or “…haven’t we?”, but that’s more formal), 3) “…don’t we?” Jul 25, 2015 at 19:12

1 Answer 1

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Answering from Ireland. I would say "They got the answers yesterday, didn't they?", 'did' referring to 'got', meaning 'they did get'.

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    Ditto from England. "They got the answers yesterday, didn't they [get them]?", Jul 24, 2015 at 13:05
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    Yep, perfectly fine and idiomatic in the US as well. (There must be something subversive afoot if everyone agrees.)
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 24, 2015 at 17:37

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