The use of tag questions in English (EFL/ESL Grammar: rules, use and practice)

The use of tag questions in English (EFL/ESL Grammar: rules, use and practice)

Tag questions are short questions that we put at the end of statements in English. Tag questions are very easy to learn. We use tag questions to check information that we already think it is true. Sometimes, we use them to involve others in dialogues and conversations. Go over the following post to understand the rules and the use of tag questions in English

To form tag questions, we use an auxiliary verb (be, have, can, should…etc) and a subject pronoun such as : (I, he, she, they…etc.).


  • Negative tag questions are usually contracted.
  • Basically, if the main statement is positive, the tag question is negative and vice versa.
  • If the main sentence includes an auxiliary as : (be, have or a modal as : could, should …etc.) we use it in the tag question. If it doesn’t include it we use (do or did depending on the tense).

Examples :                         

  • It is a beautiful day. Isn’t?
  • You were at school. Weren’t you ?
  • She is so cute. Isn’t she?
  • She is not home. Is she?
  • They weren’t abset. Were they?
  • She couldn’t open the door. Could she?

Postive sentences, with negative tags

Present simple ‘be’She’s from london, isn’t she?
Present simple other verbsThey live in Morocco, don’t they?
Present continuousWe’re coming, aren’t we?
Past simple ‘be’It was hot yesterday, wasn’t it?
Past simple other verbsHe wentout, didn’t he?
Past continuousWe were waiting, weren’t we?
Present perfectThey’ve been to Japan, haven’t they?
Present perfect continuousShe’s been sleeping, hasn’t she?
Past perfectHe had run a lot, hadn’t he?
Past perfect continuousWe’d been singing, hadn’t we?
Future simpleShe’ll come at six, won’t she?
Future continuousThey’ll be studying, won’t they?
Future perfectThey’ll have finished by 6, won’t they?
Future perfect continuousShe’ll have been studying all day, won’t she?
ModalsHe can lift the table, can’t he?
ModalsLaura must go, mustn’t he?

Negative sentences, with positive tags

Present simple ‘be’He is not late, is he?
Present simple other verbsShe doesn’t have any milk, does she?
Present continuousThe tutor isn’t coming, is he?
Past simple ‘be’He wasn’t at school, was she?
Past simple other verbsThey didn’t prepare for the test, did they?
Past continuousYou weren’t sleeping, were you?
Present perfectShe hasn’t eaten all the cake, has she?
Present perfect continuousHe hasn’t been running in this weather, has he?
Past perfectWe hadn’t been to London before, had we?
Past perfect continuousYou hadn’t been sleeping, had you?
Future simpleThey won’t be late, will they?
Future continuousHe won’t be working tomorrow, will he?
Future perfectShe won’t have been here by 6, will she?
Future perfect continuousHe won’t have been sleeping all day, will he?
ModalsShe can’t speak English, can she?
ModalsThey mustn’t throw this here, must they?

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