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  1. man of manners's Avatar
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    #1

    Question tag Only can he do this when I am here...

    Hi!
    This is a new thread in which we will discuss some problematic sentences that need suitable question tags.
    The sentence is:
    Only can he do this when I am here,........?
    My opinion: "can he?"
    Thanks in advance!


    I am not a teacher, but you can trust my answers only if you feel convinced. If not, keep asking till you finally find what you want *The Truth*.

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    #2

    Re: Question tag Only can he do this when I am here...

    Do you mean He can only do this when I am here? If so, the only possible question tag is ...right?
    I am not a teacher.

  2. man of manners's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Question tag Only can he do this when I am here...

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Do you mean He can only do this when I am here?
    Yes, It means this.
    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    If so, the only possible question tag is ...right?
    "right" is an all-purpose substitute for a question tag. but I think that there has to be some question tag acceptable.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 07-Aug-2016 at 09:54. Reason: Removed unnecessary boldface
    I am not a teacher, but you can trust my answers only if you feel convinced. If not, keep asking till you finally find what you want *The Truth*.

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    #4

    Re: Question tag Only can he do this when I am here...

    Quote Originally Posted by man of manners View Post
    "right" is an all-purpose substitute for a question tag. but I think that there has to be some question tag acceptable.
    There doesn't and, in this case, there isn't.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. Piscean's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Question tag Only can he do this when I am here...

    He can only do this when I am here, can't he? seems acceptable to me in some contexts.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 05-Aug-2016 at 07:29. Reason: Fixed typo

  4. man of manners's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Question tag Only can he do this when I am here...

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    He can only do this when I am here, can't he? seems acceptable to me in some contexts.
    In other contexts, can you accept "can he?" with the inverted sentence "Only can he do this.."
    I think inversion adds emphasis, which makes us use a positive question tag for showing a particular emotion.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 07-Aug-2016 at 09:54. Reason: Removed unnecessary boldface
    I am not a teacher, but you can trust my answers only if you feel convinced. If not, keep asking till you finally find what you want *The Truth*.

  5. Piscean's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Question tag Only can he do this when I am here...

    Quote Originally Posted by man of manners View Post
    In other contexts, can you accept "can he?" with the inverted sentence "Only can he do this.."
    No. 'Only can he do this' is not possible in English.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 07-Aug-2016 at 09:54. Reason: Made quote text match original

  6. Roman55's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Question tag Only can he do this when I am here...

    I think it's possible (albeit pretentious or perhaps archaic) in English, but it is declarative, not interrogative, and the question tag would still be, 'can't he?' or even 'can he not?'
    I am not a teacher

  7. man of manners's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Question tag Only can he do this when I am here...

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    No. 'Only can he do this' is not possible in English.
    Oh, yes. You are right.
    What if it is "Only by guessing can you solve this puzzle"?
    I am not a teacher, but you can trust my answers only if you feel convinced. If not, keep asking till you finally find what you want *The Truth*.

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    #10

    Re: Question tag Only can he do this when I am here...

    Quote Originally Posted by man of manners View Post
    Oh, yes. You are right.
    What if it is "Only by guessing can you solve this puzzle"?
    Nobody would append a question tag to that statement. The "only by" construction is used to add emphasis, while a question tag is used to reduce it. They're not compatible.
    I am not a teacher.

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