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  1. #1
    joham is offline Key Member
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    Default To British speakers:What's the tage question of 'would have done'?

    I don't suppose he would have done well in the midterm exam last week, ______?

    A. would he B. did he


    Monticello, from the US, has kindly told me Americans use 'did he' in situations like this. Could any British speakers tell me what tage question you would use after 'would have done' ? Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by joham; 06-Apr-2009 at 04:47.

  2. #2
    Soup's Avatar
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    Default Re: To British speakers:What's the tage question of 'would have done'?

    Hi joham

    You needn't be a speaker of BrE or for that matter AmE to know that tags mirror the verb: did he works only if the verb in the subordinate clause is did:

    Ex: I don't suppose that he did well in the midterm exam last week, did he?

    Ex: I don't suppose that he would have done well in the midterm exam last week, would he have?

    Ex: I don't suppose that he would have done well in the midterm exam last week, did he?

  3. #3
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: To British speakers:What's the tage question of 'would have done'?

    The last one would work only if there were a pause, allowing for a change of meaning from supposition to actual: 'I don't suppose that he would have done well in the midterm exam last week... [something in the context tells the speaker his supposition's wrong] - did he?' (And my punctuation's a bit sloppy. 'Did he?' is effectively a new sentence.)

    b

  4. #4
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    Monticello is offline Member
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    Default Re: To British speakers:What's the tage question of 'would have done'?

    Hi all,

    To set the record straight:

    Please take a look at joham's original post: I don't suppose he would have..., where the question posed by joham was confined to a multiple-choice format:
    Quote Originally Posted by joham
    I don't suppose he would have done well in the midterm exam last week, ______?

    --_______, he almost failed in the exam.

    A. had he...Yes B. did he...No C. do I...Yes D. could he...No

    This is a test item set by a Chinese teacher of English. The given answer is B.
    My replies to joham were given in the context of this original post (again, please see the link above). Clearly, B. did he...No is the only answer that works here. Though, as Bob K. points out, even this answer is grammatically incorrect, due to the fact that this is not one sentence but two:

    Quote Originally Posted by joham
    I don't suppose he would have done well in the midterm exam last week. Did he?
    Of course, Soup's response in reply to joham's post here is, generally speaking, correct:
    Quote Originally Posted by Soup
    You needn't be a speaker of BrE or for that matter AmE to know that tags mirror the verb
    At the same time, BobK's response gets back to the meaning that was obviously intended by the people who designed the multiple-choice question of joham's original post:
    Quote Originally Posted by BobK
    The last one would work only if there were a pause, allowing for a change of meaning from supposition to actual: 'I don't suppose that he would have done well in the midterm exam last week... [something in the context tells the speaker his supposition's wrong] - did he?'
    If at first correctly explained,
    I don't suppose things would have been any clearer.

    Would they have?

  5. #5
    Soup's Avatar
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    Default Re: To British speakers:What's the tage question of 'would have done'?

    Hi Monticello

    Thank you for your well-worded post as well as for providing us with the original example:
    I don't suppose he would have done well in the midterm exam last week, ________? ___, he almost failed in the exam.

    A. had he ... Yes
    B. did he ... No
    C. do I ... Yes
    D. could he ... No
    Given choices A through D, above, 'it appears' that only choice B fits in the blanks:

    A. had ... Yes
    Tense problem: The verb had is in the past tense, whereas the verb phrase would have done is in the present perfect. (Note the main verb here have done. DO and HAVE are often interchangeable in tags).


    B. did he ... No
    Tense problem: See A.

    Change the punctuation, however, and B. works:
    Sam: I don't suppose he would have done well in the midterm exam last week (even if he had studied).
    Pat: Did he (do well)?
    Sam: No, [he didn't do well] he almost failed the exam.
    The original example sentences, as provided below, reads awkwardly as if the speaker is talking to himself/herself:
    I don't suppose he would have done well in the midterm exam last week, did he? No, he almost failed in the exam.
    C. do I ... Yes
    Semantic problem: I don't suppose, do I, that he would have done well? Here the speaker is questioning his/her belief, that s/he doesn't believe, does s/he, that ...

    D. could he ... No
    Modal problem: could vs would

  6. #6
    joham is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: To British speakers:What's the tage question of 'would have done'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    Hi joham

    You needn't be a speaker of BrE or for that matter AmE to know that tags mirror the verb: did he works only if the verb in the subordinate clause is did:

    Ex: I don't suppose that he did well in the midterm exam last week, did he?

    Ex: I don't suppose that he would have done well in the midterm exam last week, would he have?

    Ex: I don't suppose that he would have done well in the midterm exam last week, did he?
    Dear Soup,
    Thank you a lot for your kind help. I'd like to know why you used 'would he have' rather than 'would he' in your second example, since this is a tag question? Is there any difference?

    (I found these sentences in the American Corpus:
    1.You wouldn't have tried this crap on Brenda , would you ?
    2. I don't think this police officer would have been indicted for anything , would he ? )

    Thank you again.
    joham
    Last edited by joham; 06-Apr-2009 at 23:34.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: To British speakers:What's the tage question of 'would have done'?

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Dear Soup,
    Thank you a lot for your kind help. I'd like to know why you used 'would he have' rather than 'would he' in your second example, since this is a tag question? Is there any difference?

    (I found these sentences in the American Corpus:
    1.You wouldn't have tried this crap on Brenda , would you ?
    2. I don't think this police officer would have been indicted for anything , would he ? )

    Thank you again.
    joham
    You're most welcome.

    Would he? is short for would he have?, wherein 'have' is often pronounced [əv], as in the misspelling of this phrase <would he of>.

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