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    • Join Date: Sep 2009
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    #1

    'Exotic' Question Tags

    Hello,

    I've read many grammar textbooks and all of them are curiously silent on Questions Tags for the below sentences.

    Can any kind native speaker of English fill in the correct Questions Tags? Thank you very much.


    They must get up at 5 am every day, _______ they? (The opposite should be needn't they but is it the correct question tag here?)

    It must have been terrible, ___________ it?

    He may like it, ___________ he?

    He may speak with the Queen (he's allowed to), ___________ he?

    He ought to tell them the truth, ______________ he?

    Thanks again.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: 'Exotic' Question Tags

    Quote Originally Posted by echelon View Post
    Hello,

    I've read many grammar textbooks and all of them are curiously silent on Questions Tags for the below sentences.

    Can any kind native speaker of English fill in the correct Questions Tags? Thank you very much.


    They must get up at 5 am every day, mustn't they? (The opposite should be needn't they but is it the correct question tag here?)
    Better: They have to get up at 5 am every day, don't they?

    It must have been terrible, mustn't it? This use is OK.

    He may like it, ___________ he?
    He might like it, mightn't he?
    It's possible that he'll like it, isn't it?

    He may speak with the Queen (he's allowed to), ___________ he?
    He's allowed to speak to the Queen, isn't he?
    He can speak to the Queen, can't he?

    He ought to tell them the truth, oughtn't he?
    Better: He should tell them the truth, shouldn't he.
    Thanks again.
    Some verbs like this aren't often used with question tags. If you really want to use a tag, you can express it in alternative ways, as I've shown.


    • Join Date: Sep 2009
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    #3

    Re: 'Exotic' Question Tags

    Thanks a lot for the answer! I know the sentences aren't particularly common. I was asking purely academically (to complete my knowledge of the Question Tag "theory").

    I noticed you completely avoided may.

    Is there not a sentence where may might appear with a question tag? And would it be mayn't?

    For example: "He may be our enemy now, mayn't he?"

    I know it sounds strange, but is it grammatically correct?

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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      • English
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    #4

    Re: 'Exotic' Question Tags

    Quote Originally Posted by echelon View Post
    Thanks a lot for the answer! I know the sentences aren't particularly common. I was asking purely academically (to complete my knowledge of the Question Tag "theory").

    I noticed you completely avoided may.

    Is there not a sentence where may might appear with a question tag? And would it be mayn't?

    For example: "He may be our enemy now, mayn't he?"

    I know it sounds strange, but is it grammatically correct?
    "Mayn't" is the grammatically correct form. I wouldn't advise you to use it though, since it's rarely used.

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