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Mini Lesson: Question Tags

21st April 2016

Hi

Welcome to Studio Cambridge. My name's Mark and I'm going to teach you about, question tags.  So, what are question tags? Have a look at these examples. Question tags are really just small, mini questions that we add to the end of statements in spoken English. They're important, because we use them quite a lot, so they help you sound like a native speaker.

In question tags we use auxiliary verbs like 'do', 'have', 'must', 'shouldn't', 'will' and so on. The general rule is, this: if you have a positive statement, then you need to add a negative question tag. If you have a negative statement, add a positive question tag. So why do you think we use question tags? Have a look at my examples again, and see if you can tell me. Well actually, they can be used for all these reasons. However, and this is very important, what they mean, depends on how you say them, you really need to use some intonation.

He has spelled that correctly, hasn't he?
You didn't see the news today, did you?
They're meeting us at the cafe, aren't they?
We should be learning these for homework, shouldn't we?

Could you tell the difference in my intonation? If your intonation goes down at the end, you're not really asking a question, you're just looking for confirmation or agreement. If the intonation goes up at the end, then it's a genuine question, and you do want an answer.

Well that's it on question tags for now, but before I go, I really have to ask you, you couldn't share this, could you?

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