As far as I know, the appearence of 'nobody' makes the question negative. So the question tag should be positive, right?

But what if the subject isn't nobody and the object is?

Example : I invited nobody.

What is the tag? "Did I?" Or "didn't I?"

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    You'd be better off recasting the sentence to a negative and using anybody: "I didn't invite anybody, did I?" As it reads now, your sentence sounds a bit unnatural. – Robusto Nov 20 '18 at 16:35
  • This is a great question. If nobody, nothing, and so on, is the subject, it makes the question negative and the question tag is positive. But what happens when nobody is the object. My intuition as a native English speaker fails me in this case, so I don't know the answer. – Peter Shor Nov 21 '18 at 2:07
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    It seems English teachers taught nobody the answer to this question, did(n't) they? – TripeHound Nov 21 '18 at 14:09
  • @PeterShor Won't it make a sentence negative if nobody, nothing etc. comes as the object? I found nothing. I met nobody there. I received no information. Are these sentences not negative? – mahmud koya Nov 22 '18 at 1:15
  • @mahmudkoya: Why do you expect grammatical rules to make sense? As I said, my grammar intuition fails for this question, so I don't know the answer. – Peter Shor Nov 22 '18 at 1:44

English question tags exist in both positive and negative forms. When there is no special emphasis, the rule of thumb often applies that a positive sentence has a negative tag and vice versa. This form may express confidence, or seek confirmation of the asker's opinion or belief. - Wikipedia

In your example, the subject is “I” and the verb is the (positive) “invited”. So the standard tag here is the negative “didn’t I”:

  • I invited nobody, didn’t I?

However, this combination (inviting nobody) suggests a more combative reply to a false assumption, using a tag matching the polarity of the ‘challenge’ question.

Unbalanced tag questions may be used for ironic or confrontational effects - ibid

  • Challenger: You invited nobody to the party!

  • You: I invited nobody, did I? So what about him and her and them!

In any case, when trying to work out the polarity of the question tag, only the polarity of the subject and the implicit or explicit verb (from the main part of the sentence) that the tag uses are relevant. The polarity of the question tag doesn't depend on the object of the sentence.

As @PeterShor notes, a negative subject such as nobody can go with a positive question tag:

  • Nobody was invited, were they?

The key is to determine the sense of the question. If it is an assertion, use a negative question tag; if it is a denial, use a positive question tag:

  • Assertion: I invited ..., didn’t I?
  • Denial: Nobody was ..., were they?
  • I have problem with this. Do you agree that i didnt invite anybody to party is as same as i invited nobody to party?they have same meaning right? If you wanna tag the first sentence it would be did I. But how the tag of second sentence is different from the first sentece however they have same meaning – johnmac Nov 20 '18 at 17:37
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    @johnmac: there are lots of pairs of sentences that have the same meaning but a different question tag. For example, "I didn't take her home, did I?" and "I left her at the party, didn't I?" – Peter Shor Nov 20 '18 at 18:05
  • @johnmac Peter’s right. More to the point, the tag needs to relate to the polarity of the duplicated verb. The rest of the sentence doesn’t really have a bearing on the polarity of the tag. – Lawrence Nov 20 '18 at 18:43
  • @johnmac The tag has nothing with nobody. If saying didn't, you ask did I? If saying did (even by implication), you ask didn't I? So: I didn't invite . . ., did I? And I (did) invite, didn't I? – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Nov 20 '18 at 19:07
  • @Jason: That's wrong. Fill in the blank: "Nobody did anything, ____ they." – Peter Shor Nov 20 '18 at 19:31

The simplest mnemonic is that whenever there are somebody, nobody,everybody, etc., gets " they " for question tag.

Example : Somebody calls you, don't they?

Though here " does ' works as a tag according to grammar rule, the pronoun of " they" make it "do' as per the Concord.

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    But "nobody" isn't the subject of "I invited nobody". – herisson Nov 21 '18 at 15:35

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