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    • Join Date: Apr 2008
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    #1

    Modal verbs in disjunctive(?) questions

    Hi,
    I bumped into the following sentence in the Intelligent Business coursebook:
    "I don't suppose you could give me your report early as well, could you?"

    Could you explain to me why "could you" is used after the comma but not "couldn't"? Isn't it a tag question? Is it possible to use any verb like "could" in this context?
    I have seen the verb "will" used in the same way in requests (as far as i noticed, suchlike requests are made to someone you know pretty well).
    E.G. "Stop humming to yourself, will you?" I hope it doesn't sound rude even to someone you are on good terms with.

    Thanking you in advance.
    All the best,
    Maria

  1. Soup's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Modal verbs in disjunctive(?) questions

    Hi MashUK

    The reason the tag is affirnative could you and not couldn't you has to do with the main verb, don't suppose you could. It's negated:

    "I don't suppose you could give me your report early as well, could you?"



    • Join Date: Apr 2008
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    #3

    Re: Modal verbs in disjunctive(?) questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    Hi MashUK

    The reason the tag is affirnative could you and not couldn't you has to do with the main verb, don't suppose you could. It's negated:

    "I don't suppose you could give me your report early as well, could you?"

    Thanks a million

    So, we need to think globally: If there is a negation in the 1st part of a sentence, then the verb in the 2nd must be affirmative, regardless of the verb. I thought there should be pairs of verbs in both parts. E.g. could-couldn't, shouldn't-should, doesn't-does, etc.
    Again, would the following sentence sound categoric or ok:
    'Would you do me a favour and deal with a few things while i am away, wouldn't you?"

    Regards,
    Maria

  2. engee30's Avatar
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    #4

    Cool Re: Modal verbs in disjunctive(?) questions

    Quote Originally Posted by MashUK View Post
    Thanks a million

    So, we need to think globally: If there is a negation in the 1st part of a sentence, then the verb in the 2nd must be affirmative, regardless of the verb. I thought there should be pairs of verbs in both parts. E.g. could-couldn't, shouldn't-should, doesn't-does, etc.
    Again, would the following sentence sound categoric or ok:
    'Would you do me a favour and deal with a few things while i am away, wouldn't you?"

    Regards,
    Maria
    You don't use tag questions alongside questions.


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    #5

    Re: Modal verbs in disjunctive(?) questions

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    You don't use tag questions alongside questions.
    Hmm..ok

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    #6

    Post Re: Modal verbs in disjunctive(?) questions

    Quote Originally Posted by MashUK View Post
    Thanks a million

    So, we need to think globally: If there is a negation in the 1st part of a sentence, then the verb in the 2nd must be affirmative, regardless of the verb. I thought there should be pairs of verbs in both parts. E.g. could-couldn't, shouldn't-should, doesn't-does, etc.
    Regards,
    Maria
    No, you can use the following polarity as well:

    affirmative clause + affirmative tag

    I guess you could chanage your mind, could you? (a stronger attitude)
    I guess you could change your mind, couldn't you? (a weaker attitude)


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    #7

    Re: Modal verbs in disjunctive(?) questions

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    No, you can use the following polarity as well:

    affirmative clause + affirmative tag

    I guess you could chanage your mind, could you? (a stronger attitude)
    I guess you could change your mind, couldn't you? (a weaker attitude)
    Have never heard of the 1st example. Thought we could deal with a stronger/weaker attitude only in example #2 considering the intonation of the tag: Rising tone-not sure, falling-sure.

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