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  1. English Freak's Avatar
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    #1

    Tag questions

    Somewhere I read:
    In tag questions, "the first part is positive and the second part is usually negative" and "the first part is negative and the second part is usually positive".
    Why is that? Usually!? Isn't it always? If the sentences above are right, could you please give some examples?

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    #2

    Re: Tag questions

    Not a teacher.

    Since I joined this forum, I've become far more cautious using 'always' and 'never'. 'As a rule' has proved to be a much safer phrase

    You might find the examples below useful.

    Let's go to the cinema, shall we?
    I'll hold that for you, shall I?
    Hand me the knife, will you please?
    This is the final match of the season, is it? ~ Yes, that's right.
    So you can run a mile in four minutes, can you?
    So you're getting married, are you? How nice!

    You can make a positive statement (to make a guess, expess interest, surprise or concern) and then add a non-negative tag to ask if the assumption is correct (same-way tags).

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Tag questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Since I joined this forum, I've become far more cautious using 'always' and 'never'. 'As a rule' has proved to be a much safer phrase
    Very wise. I never say 'never.

    Note to those who don't know the expression - 'as a rule' means 'generally', 'normally', 'what we usually expect'. It does not mean that it is a rule that must always be followed.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Tag questions

    While a postivie statement, positive tag is common enough (as shown in those great examples), I can't say I can think of a negative statement, negative tag that sounds anything close to normal. Can you?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Tag questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    While a postivie statement, positive tag is common enough (as shown in those great examples), I can't say I can think of a negative statement, negative tag that sounds anything close to normal. Can you?
    "So you aren't going to do your homework, aren't you? - said threateningly by a parent who is going to ensure that defiant son is going to do his homework

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    #6

    Re: Tag questions

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    "So you aren't going to do your homework, aren't you? - said threateningly by a parent who is going to ensure that defiant son is going to do his homework
    "And you're going to make me do my homework, are you?" would make an ideal reply.

    Negative/negative is not that common- it is hard to think of examples.

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