Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: tag ending

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    97
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default tag ending

    It is hardly likely that the engine runs on solar energy when it is needed, ----?

    a) is it b) does it c) doesn't it d) isn't it e) didn't it

    Which is correct?

  2. #2
    rhapsomatrics is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Yoruba
      • Home Country:
      • Nigeria
      • Current Location:
      • Nigeria
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    79
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: tag ending

    Quote Originally Posted by curious
    It is hardly likely that the engine runs on solar energy when it is needed, ----?
    a) is it b) does it c) doesn't it d) isn't it e) didn't it
    Which is correct?


    I think,here,that the "problem" is with "the likelihood of the run of the engine on solar energy when needed"...the phrase "hardly likely" shows a very negative aspect of likelihood which almost translates as "not" or "never"..."It is NOT/NEVER likely...therefore,the negative form of "not likely" would be "likely"...the negative of "...IS NOT likely" would be "IS IT?

  3. #3
    nyggus is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,759
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: tag ending

    Well, I would choose 'isn't it'... So, what is the correct answer?

  4. #4
    rhapsomatrics is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Yoruba
      • Home Country:
      • Nigeria
      • Current Location:
      • Nigeria
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    79
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: tag ending

    Well,I think every person is entitled to his/her own opinion,however,I'd like to say,here,that I find myself in a respectful disagreement to your stance on this issue.You seem to be neglecting the purport of the word "hardly"..."Hardly likely" means "not likely" therefore,you form the question tag by a reversal of position with an obvious polarity change..."she is"../".isn't she?"..."she isn't".../" is she?"..."it is not likely"or "it isn't likely"..."is it?"
    Last edited by rhapsomatrics; 09-Jan-2006 at 12:00.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,322
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: tag ending

    I agree with Rhapsomatrics on this- 'hardly' is so close to negative that we treat it as one, so the tag would be positive IMO.

  6. #6
    nyggus is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,759
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: tag ending

    Hardly is very close to negative, I agree, but do we treat them as one? In such case those two phrases would mean the same:
    1st 'It is hardly likely that the engine runs on solar energy when it is needed.'
    2nd 'It is unlikely that the engine runs on solar energy when it is needed.'

    Do they really mean the same?

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,322
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: tag ending

    Quote Originally Posted by nyggus
    1st 'It is hardly likely that the engine runs on solar energy when it is needed.'
    2nd 'It is unlikely that the engine runs on solar energy when it is needed.'

    Do they really mean the same?
    They don't mean exactly the same. The first sounds more critical- the speakers is expressing disbelief or rejection of the likelihood, rather than a low possibility. I said that it behaved like a negative for the purposes of choosing the question tag, and your two examples would, IMO, have different tags- the first positive and the second negative.

  8. #8
    rhapsomatrics is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Yoruba
      • Home Country:
      • Nigeria
      • Current Location:
      • Nigeria
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    79
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: tag ending

    Quote Originally Posted by nyggus
    Hardly is very close to negative, I agree, but do we treat them as one? In such case those two phrases would mean the same:
    1st 'It is hardly likely that the engine runs on solar energy when it is needed.'
    2nd 'It is unlikely that the engine runs on solar energy when it is needed.'
    Do they really mean the same?


    In my opinion,the two sentences differ...a fact which suggests that they'd have to take different question tags."HARDLY" in the first sentence is an andverb which shows negativity(not) but "unlikely" in the second is an adjective which qualifies the noun phrase"that the..needed"...It is the same as,for example"It is sad that the engine runs on solar...."Is is not sad?...isn't it?...maybe I should say this..."Hardly likely" and "unlikely" are not the same(In My Opinion)..."the word "hardly" in the first sentence negates the "is" thereby forcing the tag to be positive but "unlikely" is the second does not negate the verb,therefore a negative tag may be permitted.
    Last edited by rhapsomatrics; 09-Jan-2006 at 12:25.

Similar Threads

  1. 3 words ending with 'GRY'
    By Anonymous in forum Frequently Asked Questions
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: 21-Nov-2009, 22:02
  2. Sentence ending with preposition
    By carol_0222 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 07-Jan-2006, 06:01
  3. words ending in maniac
    By baron__rojo in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 08-Aug-2004, 17:41
  4. Words ending in -wise
    By Masfer in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 14-Apr-2004, 15:29
  5. ending a sentence
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 25-Oct-2003, 01:23

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •