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  1. man of manners's Avatar
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    #1

    Question tag —You could buy a new one...

    Hi!
    This is a new thread in which we will discuss some sentences that need suitable question tags.
    The sentence is:
    I have a good suggestion. You could buy a new one,...............? [the context is about 'suggestion']
    My opinion: "will you/won't you/can't you?".

    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*.

  2. teechar's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Question tag —You could buy a new one...

    Quote Originally Posted by man of manners View Post
    You could buy a new one
    I wonder why "couldn't you" is not on your list.

  3. man of manners's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Question tag —You could buy a new one...

    Quote Originally Posted by teechar View Post
    I wonder why "couldn't you" is not on your list.
    Because the construction "You/We could...." is idiomatic when used in the context of suggestion. Here "could" doesn't refer to the past but the future. If we used "couldn't", it is not idiomatic anymore [we cannot use "You/We couldn't..." for suggestion] so the meaning would be destroyed and "could" would refer to the past, which conflicts with the context given.
    Now, what should be used in your opinion?
    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*.

  4. teechar's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Question tag —You could buy a new one...

    I don't fully understand what you're trying to say, but the short answer is that I would definitely use "couldn't you" in the original. It's natural and idiomatic in that context.

  5. man of manners's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Question tag —You could buy a new one...

    I am pretty sure you understand me but you are trying to use an identical modal verb to the one used in the original sentnece as most of the British do, but be sure that the meaning does change.
    "could" is used in the idiomatic expression "You/We could..." for the meaning of "suggestion" and any changes in this idiomatic expression [using "couldn't" in the negative form for example] leads us to not understanding the meaning properly. The use of "couldn't" in the question tag just doesn't work. Some people wouldn't even think of the meaning given in the question tag so the use of "couldn't" can be acceptable.
    If you still don't get it, I will give your another example:
    "must" when used for "deduction" can be tagged as "mustn't" despite the fact that "mustn't" doesn't work for deduction.
    I hope you got it.
    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*.

  6. teechar's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Question tag —You could buy a new one...

    Quote Originally Posted by man of manners View Post
    I am pretty sure you understand me but
    Unless you're a mind reader, I don't know how you can assert that!
    It's also not very mannerly of you, is it?

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    #7

    Re: Question tag —You could buy a new one...

    Quote Originally Posted by man of manners View Post
    I am pretty sure you understand me but you are trying to use an identical modal verb to the one used in the original sentnece as most of the British do, but be sure that the meaning does change.
    "could" is used in the idiomatic expression "You/We could..." for the meaning of "suggestion" and any changes in this idiomatic expression [using "couldn't" in the negative form for example] leads us to not understanding the meaning properly. The use of "couldn't" in the question tag just doesn't work. Some people wouldn't even think of the meaning given in the question tag so the use of "couldn't" can be acceptable.
    If you still don't get it, I will give your another example:
    "must" when used for "deduction" can be tagged as "mustn't" despite the fact that "mustn't" doesn't work for deduction.
    I hope you got it.
    Since you know all of the answers, I wonder why you are here asking questions. Are you somehow convinced that "most of the British" (and we Americans, too) are incorrect?

  7. man of manners's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Question tag —You could buy a new one...

    Quote Originally Posted by teechar View Post
    I don't know how you can assert that!
    My explanation is here for you to consider not to discuss impolitely.
    Quote Originally Posted by teechar View Post
    It's also not very mannerly of you, is it?
    What exactly is not polite in what I said?!!
    You have showed me enough of your good manners!
    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*.

  8. man of manners's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Question tag —You could buy a new one...

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    Since you know all of the answers
    I do not. Please, do not make me look as if I said this.
    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I wonder why you are here asking questions.
    I ask for answers sometimes and ask for confirmation as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    Are you somehow convinced that "most of the British" (and we Americans, too) are incorrect?
    No, of course. I am adding another possible answer and asking for conformation.
    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*.

  9. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Question tag —You could buy a new one...

    Quote Originally Posted by man of manners View Post
    The use of "couldn't" in the question tag just doesn't work. Some people wouldn't even think of the meaning given in the question tag so the use of "couldn't" can be acceptable.
    You are utterly incorrect. No one will confirm your understanding, because your understanding is wrong.

    The idiomatic tag is "couldn't you?"

    If this thread works as your others have, you will protest and disagree and every single native speaker will tell you that you're not correct, but you will continue to protest and disagree. So forgive me, but this will be the last post I make in this thread, because there is absolutely nothing you can post that will change my mind about "couldn't 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.

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