Tag Questions: Exercises & Explanation (Worksheet Included)

Question Tags Worksheet Download (for teachers): tag-questions-worksheet.docx


Quick Review of Tag Questions

Tag questions (or question tags) can be used to confirm information. In these cases, the speaker expects the other person to agree with him, and the speaker’s intonation (voice) drops at the end of the tag question.

A: You’ll be home tonight at five o’clock, won’t you?

B: Yes, I will. (confirmation)

Tag questions can also be used to ask a real question. In these cases, the speaker’s intonation rises at the end.

A: This is your pen, isn’t it?

B: Ah. Yes, that is mine. Thanks!

In both cases, a tag question is similar to adding ‘right?’ or ‘isn’t that true?’ after a question. As you can see, we use a negative tag question after a positive statement.

This is your pen, isn’t it?

You can also use a positive tag question after a negative statement.

This isn’t your pen, is it?

Making Tag Questions – General Rules

To make a tag question, you usually use the auxiliary verb. An auxiliary verb is a helping verb that comes before the main verb in a sentence. In a positive tag question, the auxiliary verb is changed into the negative form (will > won’t).

  • Kevin will come tonight, won’t he?

The auxiliary verb in the tag question is almost always in the form of a contraction (will not > won’t). After the auxiliary verb in the tag question, use a pronoun (I/you/he/she/it/they/we). Do not use a name (won’t John? = won’t he?). Here are some more examples:

  • You have eaten breakfast today, haven’t you?
  • Paula can drive a car, can’t she?
  • Michael is working now, isn’t he?
  • We should get insurance, shouldn’t we?

If the main verb in the sentence is the BE verb, then use the BE verb again in the question tag.

  • Tania is your neighbor, isn’t she?
  • They weren’t talking about me, were they?

If there’s no auxiliary verb and the sentence does not use the BE verb, use the verb ‘do‘ to make your question tag.

  • He lives in Spain, doesn’t he?
  • You have a dog, don’t you?
  • He lost his job, didn’t he?

Note: The verb ‘have’ is not an auxiliary verb in the sentence ‘You have a dog’. It is the main verb. Therefore, use ‘do’ in the tag question. When ‘have’ is used as an auxiliary verb (e.g. ‘We have arrived’), use have in the tag question (‘haven’t we?’).

a boy with his dog

Johnny has a dog, doesn’t he?

Advanced Rules – Making Tag Questions

‘I am’ as Subject

The tag question for a sentence starting with ‘I am’ is aren’t I? Here’s an example:

  • I’m late, aren’t I?

Words with a Negative Meaning in a Positive Statement

There are several words that have a negative meaning, and therefore, even if they are in a positive statement, the statement should be considered negative. These words include the following:

  • never
  • nothing
  • no one, nobody
  • seldom

After a statement with one of the above words, use a positive tag.

  • You’ve never met him, have you? (positive tag)
  • Nothing will stop him, will it?
  • No one cares, do they? (note that ‘they’ is used in the tag when ‘no one’ or ‘nobody’ is the subject)
  • He seldom sees his children, does he?
  • They never thought they’d run out of money, did they?

Tricky Subjects – This & That

If the subject of the sentence is ‘this‘ or ‘that‘, use ‘it’ as the pronoun in the question tag. If the subject is ‘these/those’, use ‘they’ in the question tag.

  • This is easy, isn’t it?
  • These are your glasses, aren’t they?

Sentences Starting with ‘Let’s’

Use the tag shall we? as a tag for a statement starting with Let’s (let us).

  • Let’s go home, shall we?

Sentences Starting with ‘There’

If the subject of a sentence is ‘there’, then use ‘there’ in place of a pronoun in the tag question.

  • There are many restaurants on this street, aren’t there?

Note that this rule applies when ‘there’ is used to indicate that something exists (e.g. restaurants on a street). It does not apply when ‘there’ (or ‘here’) is used as an adverb of place to mean in that place. For example:

  • There’s the restaurant!
  • Here’s your pen!

You cannot use a tag question with the above two examples because these are inverted sentences that do not begin with a subject.


Those are the basic rules. Here are some practice exercises.

Tag Question Exercises: Basic

Note: Do not include a question mark (?) in your answers.

  1. He is from Germany, ?
  2. She loves her job, ?
  3. Cornwall is in England, ?
  4. Mr. Park can speak Korean, ?
  5. This computer should be turned off, ?
  6. Many people could get hurt, ?
  7. Your children are coming to the party, ?
  8. Your friends will be there, ?

  

Tag Question Exercises: Intermediate

These sentences have both positive and negative tag questions.

  1. You’re hungry, ?
  2. You’re not hungry, ?
  3. These are your shoes, ?
  4. You haven’t seen my keys, ?
  5. You have an umbrella, ?
  6. You’re good at math, ?
  7. We didn’t forget to pay for our food, ?
  8. Mr. Jones won’t help us, ?

  

Tag Question Exercises: Advanced

  1. This weather isn’t going to last all week, ?
  2. Let’s forget about it, ?
  3. There were too many children at the restaurant, ?
  4. Nobody knows where they went, ?
  5. He wishes he were taller, ?
  6. We should bring a gift, ?
  7. I’m the only one with a driver’s license, ?
  8. You’ve never been to Hawaii, ?
  9. Your department had a meeting this morning, ?

  

Find a Mistake? Have a question? Leave a comment below.

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4 comments on “Tag Questions: Exercises & Explanation (Worksheet Included)

  1. Chandhu anil kumar (Posted on 3-2-2021 at 07:24) Reply

    you have an umbrella,haven’t you….Is this the correct answer??

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 3-2-2021 at 14:36) Reply

      ‘Have’ here is the main verb, not an auxiliary verb. Therefore, we need to add ‘do’ to make a tag question. So the correct tag here is ‘don’t you?’

  2. Simon (Posted on 4-11-2021 at 12:48) Reply

    Why is “This weather isn’t going to last all week, is it?” wrong?

    1. MB (Posted on 4-11-2021 at 13:37) Reply

      Good catch. I had changed this question but forgot to update the answer. Thanks Simon.

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