I'm trying to grok the phrase "now would it". I've been using it all my life [citation needed], but I still don't 100% understand it.

I suspect if I only knew where to put the comma, I'd finally be able to wrap my brain around it!

In light of that, how shall we punctuate this sentence? Do we need to add anything in/around "now would it" to make it grammatically correct?

If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise now would it?

  • 1
    In my head I always parsed it as It wouldn't be a surprise now, would it?, the would it just a standard question tag for it wouldn't. – oerkelens Jun 16 '17 at 9:04

In its section on commas The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation by Jane Straus says:

Rule 14. Use a comma to separate a statement from a question.

So the correct way to write this would be:

If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise, now would it?

  • 2
    If I could give you +100 for citing an authoritative reference, I would. Sadly, this little +1 is all I have to give. – Dan Bron Jun 17 '17 at 18:54

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