Being a non-native speaker of English, I am less aware about the distinction between Asian and standard English. While conversing with my client, I came to realize that isn't it is used wrong in this sentence:

You didn’t wait for us before you went to meet him isn’t it?

According to him, that isn’t it should be replaced with didn’t you. Could anyone explain why it must be didn’t you instead of isn’t it there?

  • 2
    Using isn't it? as a general-purpose tag question seems quite common in Asian/Indian English. Standard English makes the verb in the tag match the main verb: "You didn't wait, did you?" There are quite a number of questions in ELU about this sort of tag.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 14:03
  • It’s the question-tag rule. I posted this a few days ago. Just a minute.
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 14:22
  • 1
    Look here for some rules for how to construct traditional question tags in English, including accounting for negatives and auxiliaries. Note that some speakers also use simpler tags like “eh?” or “right?”, or even just “ok?” at the ends of their statements; “you know?” can be an all-purpose question tag in some speakers.
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 15:06
  • 1
    I think many crore of people are confused about this, isn't it? Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 17:14
  • 1
    @JohnLawler The Himālayas do be shadowing their understands.
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 17:28

1 Answer 1


The subject and verb must agree, and a second reference must use the same subject. So it's "You didn’t wait, did you?" "It's a lovely day, isn't it?" "I dropped the ball, didn't I?"


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