Tag Questions

The tag question is a special construct in the English language. It is a sentence consisting of a statement followed by a fragment of a question, converting the statement itself into a question. We are all aware of this construct; the following examples will make the concept clear:

You’re alright, aren’t you?

You don’t love me anymore, do you?

It’s rather chilly today, isn’t it?

The sentence in entirety is known as a tag question, while the ‘mini-question’ at the end is known as the question tag. This construct is used to obtain confirmation.

Tag questions are structurally simple:

  1. Positive statements are followed by negative questions:

You enjoyed yourself at the party, didn’t you?

  1. Negative statements are followed by positive questions:

You don’t want this, do you?


Words like never, scarcely, hardly, barely, rarely and seldom have negative connotations, even when used in statements. Therefore, the question tag must always be positive if any of these words are used in the preceding statement. For example:

You hardly see each other, do you?

You seldom know what you’re doing, do you?