Which of these question tags is most appropriate for

There has been an earthquake. You must have felt it too, __ ?

  1. – , haven't you?

  2. – , didn't you?

  3. – , mustn't you?

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    Without context, I would advise not to use any of those. You could say: "You must have felt it too, correct?" or "You must have felt it too, right?" (Second is very informal but common.) You have quite a high StackExchange score, so maybe I'm missing something... – Christopher Issac May 26 '18 at 22:18
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    But if this is purely technical, the direct negative question tag would be "mustn't." – Christopher Issac May 26 '18 at 22:21
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    @ChristopherIssac: it could have been "It must have been terrible.", referring to someone losing a parent, for instance. If I want to use a question tag, should it be ", mustn't it?", ", wasn't it?", or "hasn't it"? – user58319 May 26 '18 at 22:23
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    @EdwinAshworth: I was thinking of something like an earthquake. – user58319 May 26 '18 at 22:24
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    -mustn't you? Doesn't work in this context. I'd go for "You must have felt that earthquake, surely?" But that doesn't answer your question, does it? :) – Mari-Lou A May 26 '18 at 22:56

First, the terminology. Wikipedia deems tacked-on questions other than those mirroring the grammar of the statement (eg ", yes?") to also qualify as tag questions.

Second, what questions can be tagged onto "You must have felt it too"?

Certainly the suggestions given not containing a verb (", correct?" / ", right?" / ", yes?" / ", no?") and recasts (" ... you did, didn't you?") are all quite acceptable.

"haven't you" doesn't work with a single event (an earthquake). It would work here: "There have been several smallish earthquakes this month. You must have felt them too, haven't you?" [", didn't you?" also works here]

"didn't you?" does work here: "I was woken by quite a pronounced tremor last night. You must have felt it too ... didn't you?" [the pause disguises a certain awkwardness resulting from the verb switch]

But "mustn't you" would only be used in a situation like this to persuade someone of what seems inescapable but which they're unsure about, rather than purely to check on facts:

"You must have left it at Auntie Jane's, mustn't you?" [two levels: solicitous or browbeating]

(ie "you've got to agree that it's what actually happened". The 'must' in "You must have felt it too" holds far less conviction; the tag question is proof of that. So ", mustn't you?" is unavailable after "You must have felt it too" here as it defaults to a different sense.)

| improve this answer | |
  • I don't know if there's a specific term for this kind of transformation but, as I understand it (albeit mostly intuitively), You must have felt it too is the result of applying this unidentified transformation to either You felt it too or You have felt it too. That explains to me why didn't you would work better in some cases and haven't you in others. – Andriy M Apr 23 '19 at 8:27

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