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    #1

    Question tags

    Which of the following is correct?

    1- He had to attend the meeting, didn't he?
    2-
    He had to attend the meeting, hadn't he?

    3-
    You've hardly known your father, haven't you?
    4-
    You've hardly known your father, have you?
    Last edited by Freeguy; 21-Aug-2014 at 07:40.

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    #2

    Re: Question tags

    I would use 1 & 4.

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    #3

    Re: Question tags

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Freeguy:

    You have already received the answers.

    May I just add a few ideas that may interest you?

    *****

    1. He had to attend the meeting, didn't he? ("Had" is past and affirmative; the tag, then, is past and negative. "Mona HAD a blue hat, DIDn't she?"

    2. He had attended the meeting, hadn't he? (In #1, "had" is the main verb; in #2, "had" is an auxiliary [helping] verb. So you need to repeat it in the tag.)

    4. You've hardly known your father, have you?

    a. Mr. Raymond Murphy in his series Grammar in Use reminds us that "hardly" = "almost not."

    b. As you know, one cannot use two negatives in a tag question.

    c. Thus, #3 is wrong because that means something like: "You have almost not known your father, haven't, you? [Compare: "You do NOT speak French, doN'T you?" The correct sentence would be: "You do NOT speak French, DO you?"]

    d. Therefore, as you have already been told, #4 is the correct choice: "You have almost not known your father, have you?"




    James

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    #4

    Re: Question tags

    One of my native friends has said:

    - British English favors #2, or at least naturally allows.
    -
    #3 is a possible case for using the negative + negative tag. For most of us, this is unusual, but not impossible in some speakers' idiom.

    What do you think now?
    Last edited by Freeguy; 22-Aug-2014 at 07:13.

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    #5

    Re: Question tags

    The second poster is a BrE teacher. What do you think now?

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    #6

    Re: Question tags

    He's right. HA?

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    #7

    Re: Question tags

    Yes.

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    #8

    Re: Question tags

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Freeguy:

    You probably know about Mr. Michael Swan's Practical English Usage, which is consulted throughout the world by both teachers and students.

    Mr. Swan says this:

    "After non-auxiliary have (referring to states), question tags with have and do are often both possible in British English. (Do is normal in American English.)"

    *****

    He then gives these examples:

    1. Your father has a bad back, hasn't he?
    2. Your father has a bad back, doesn't he?


    I do not know whether Mr. Swan's "rule" applies in your particular sentences. A teacher will probably tell us shortly.



    James


    Source: My 1995 edition of Mr. Swan's book: entry #466.7 on page 480.

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    #9

    Re: Question tags

    It doesn't apply here to me.

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