28

I've bundled up my comments into an answer of sorts. (ha, it looks worse than the comments - who chose these colours and fonts?) In British English (or rather in Britain) I've certainly heard aren't we etc used in that way. Whether it is right/proper/by the rules/grammatical/whatever I have no idea . One of us is wrong, aren't we? It's got a question ...


28

"He's too weak to walk" Is he ? suggests that the person asking is doubting, or at least needing confirmation of the assertion. Isn't he? suggests the person agrees with the assertion. The point is, they have different meanings and should be used depending entirely upon whether or not the person asking agrees or not with the assertion.


26

In American Standard English, all of your example sentences sound awkward, bordering on wrong,1 but people will still understand the meaning. The natural way for me to express these statements would be without a question tag at all — here are two variations on each, differing in nuance: Isn’t one of these balls blue? Shouldn’t one of these balls be ...


22

The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition (2003) has this entry under "Exclamation Point": 6.77 Exclamation rather than question. A question that is essentially an exclamation usually ends with an exclamation point. How could you possibly believe that! When will I ever learn! If we take this guidance seriously, it seems to me, then for ...


13

I don't normally answer my own questions, but in this case I feel compelled to do so. FumbleFingers' answer — the only answer this question has received* — while well-argued and not incorrect, feels like the answer of someone who is faced with a problem he recognizes but cannot solve, and so falls back on whatever has served in the past: in this case, the "...


13

Wikipedia has an overarching approach: Balanced vs unbalanced tags 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 ...


11

As a native speaker of American English, One of these balls is blue, aren't they? sounds definitely wrong. My explanation for why it feels wrong is that the core of the subject is One, which is singular. The prepositional phrase of these balls doesn't change the grammatical number of the subject. Compare: Isn't one of these balls blue? = One of ...


10

The grammatical version of your sentence is: All the scheduled payments will be sent this night, won't they? This question at the end of the statement is a question tag. It is used when the speaker wants to check that the statement is correct. In order to form it you use only the auxiliary verb (will in your case) with the subject of the verb in negative ...


10

The general principle is that when the main clause is positive, the question tag is negative. You have no idea is made negative by the presence of no. It follows that the tag will be do you?


10

I think you're right. since the sentence expresses a negative meaning. Nope, there is no negation operator in "He's too weak to walk." On the other hand, a sentence like, "It hardly solves our problems, does it?" has a positive question tag because hardly acts as a negation operator here.


9

In simple usage, the question tag always mirrors the clause which makes the statement: You shouldn't take sugar, should you? You won't take sugar, will you? Changing the question tag makes it into a statement and a supplementary question. Note the change in written punctuation, which may not be so obvious in speech. You shouldn't take sugar; will ...


8

No, they aren't interchangeable. A tag question is a device used to turn a statement into a question. It nearly always consists of a pronoun, a helping verb, and sometimes the word not. Although it begins as a statement, the tag question prevails when it comes to the end-mark: use a question mark. Notice that when the statement is positive, the tag ...


8

In the US we most commonly use right for that purpose: She's pretty, right? That movie sucked, right? You're an extraterrestrial, right? It's really raining out there, right? Using yes in these instances would indicate that you were not from our neck of the woods.


8

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


7

Tag questions always swap negative values; like multiplying by minus one. Although tags with two negatives are impossible: *You never went there, didn't you? *She isn't coming tonight, isn't she? Tags with two positives do occur, as noted. However, they are a different construction; they're not questions, but challenges: She's coming tonight, is she? We ...


7

In my part of England (Yorkshire) we sometimes use "is he not?", but not as a tag question as in your example. "Is not he" is a definite no-no. The reason is that you are looking at a tag question, so you have the subject-verb inversion, but contractions such as isn't or wasn't can't invert.


7

The question is difficult, because the example itself is unwieldy at best. As Peter pointed out, few and a few have opposite meanings in this context, so it would be unusual to use either where there is risk of confusion. Since few here means 'not many', and simple reference to negatives gives us Not many people knew the way, did they?, I would say few also ...


7

1A: [So,] I am impatient, am I? would be used when you at last meet the chap who's been telling all your workmates that he thinks you're impatient. 1B: I am impatient, aren't I? uses the usual tag question, here begrudgingly asking for confirmation (which one hopes will be given in a not-too-unpleasant way) of one's self-assessment. 2A: The class was ...


6

Have to is an idiom, a paraphrase of the modal auxiliary verb must; it's always pronounced /'hæftə/ (/'hæstə/ in 3SgPres -- always /f/ instead of /v/ and /s/ instead of /z/), and it can't be split up. Modal paraphrase idioms like hafta, wanna, gotta, etc. are written with to in formal spelling, but that's just a marker for the infinitive that has to follow ...


6

While it's ultimately a matter of style and preference, I think the case for the period is very strong. The period makes the writing clearer without becoming a distraction, and that's what good punctuation should do. Using italics to distinguish the two kinds of tag questions works, but adding more punctuation creates more distraction. The only real ...


6

Strictly speaking all the first three could be considered "valid" (although #2 would be a somewhat contrived context, and would require the final "tag question" to be reversed into "..., will you?"). So I'd say this "online grammar test" is very poor quality, purely on the grounds that there's no single correct answer. All we can say for sure is #4 is a no-...


6

No, that would be incorrect. as Cerberus stated, the correct sentence would be "Your name is Ben, isn't it?" The correct pronoun to use in the tag question is the "it" not the possessive "yours."


6

As John Lawler says, below, “There is no asserted logical proposition in a question.” There is no ‘logical’ difference between Do you have a ticket? and Don’t you have a ticket? to be taken into consideration: both amount to the same thing, Do you … ?. The same is true of a third variant, You do have a ticket, don’t you? The difference between them lies in ...


6

The question at the end is implicitly asking the listener to correct you: thus it invites the opposite response to what you have just said. It isn't raining today, is it? This invites a response of "It is raining", in case you are mistaken. It's raining today, isn't it? This invites a response of "It isn't raining", again in case you are mistaken. ...


6

I think the phrase you are looking for is rhetorical question. In this case, the speaker is using rhetoric in an aggressive way to chastise the listener for their perceived incompetence. For example, I was person b in your first example only a couple nights ago. My friend complained that I didn't respond when he messaged me at 2am. Using a rhetorical ...


6

When speaking to Bob, Alice is not talking about him. She's talking about a man like Bob. A general man, who happens to be like Bob. So it's should he. Bob, a man like you shouldn't do this, should he? The general statement and its impersonal tag question is not a personal criticism; it's a hedged criticism, a criticism by analogy, a gentle prod in the ...


5

In a question tag, if there is an auxiliary verb in the sentence, you always use it. Otherwise you use the appropriate form of the verb do. I'm not making any sense, am I? There are a few exceptions. One is the quasi-modal used to, which used to take usedn't, but doesn't any more. You used to work here, didn't you? *You used to work here, usedn't ...


5

I used to swim in the Tilak tank, didn't I?


5

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?"


5

As the question stands, the OP asks if (forms of) mistake can be used as other than a noun (Should I write "... or I've made a mistake?"). In that sense, the "Capital of A is B, or I'm mistaken?" is correct in the use of mistaken as an adjective. mis·tak·en /məˈstākən/ Adjective 1. Wrong in one's opinion or judgment. 2. (esp. of a belief) ...


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