question tag: may

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Teia

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Hi!

What is the question tag for the following sentence?

We may leave now,.......?

The possible answers offered by the text of the grammar book are:
may we not / can`t we / may we / may not we.

In my opinion, can`t we is the correct answer. May we not seems to be more correct if we take into consideration the fact that the verb in the sentence is may, but I think that this answer is a little bit too pretentious. What is your opinion on that?

Thank you very much in advance.
 

corum

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It depends on what you would like to achieve with the tag, IMO.
 

Teia

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It depends on what you would like to achieve with the tag, IMO.

If you were given these possible answers, in a test paper, what would you choose? I have to choose something. I can`t ask the examiner about the intention because it`s a written test paper.

Thank you again.
 

corum

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If you were given these possible answers, in a test paper, what would you choose? I have to choose something. I can`t ask the examiner about the intention because it`s a written test paper.

Thank you again.

IMO 'may' may mean these:

- polite proposition
- permission

'May we not' is always a sure bet. The operator (the first tensed verb in the verb phrase) will always work.

May we not?
Shall we not? (proposition)
Can we not? (permission)
 

Teia

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Thank you very much for your answer.
 

Tdol

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You could also make a case for c)- if the speaker were being sarcastic, etc.
 

Teia

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Thank you very much for your reply. Good point!
 

Tdol

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A better question would be to ask which you don't use.
 

Raymott

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Hi!

What is the question tag for the following sentence?

We may leave now,.......?

The possible answers offered by the text of the grammar book are:
may we not / can`t we / may we / may not we.

In my opinion, can`t we is the correct answer. May we not seems to be more correct if we take into consideration the fact that the verb in the sentence is may, but I think that this answer is a little bit too pretentious. What is your opinion on that?

Thank you very much in advance.
The correct answer for an exam is "may we not".
"May not we" us ungrammatical.
"May we" is not a typical tag question because it is not the negative of the main sentence.
"Can't we" is the correct answer for "We can leave now ..."

In any fair test of tag questions, either "mayn't we" (which I don't recommend; besides, it's not an option) or "may we not" have to be right.
 

Jaskin

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Hi,
Please note I'm not a teacher nor a native speaker.

Is there just one possible answer ?

May we" is not a typical tag question because it is not the negative of the main sentence.

I'm sorry but that argument doesn't appeal to me at all.
As far as I know there are plenty of examples of positive question tags after affirmative sentences.
I think the sentence : "We may leave now, may we ?" sounds more like a question and is more natural than "We may leave now, may we not "?

Cheers
 

Raymott

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Hi,
Is there just one possible answer ?
Yes, as the poster said, it's a multiple choice test paper.
While other tags are possible, they are not the expected answer. I was giving reasons why the other answers were wrong for an exam.
 

corum

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I'm sorry but that argument doesn't appeal to me at all.

With all due respect, that is not an argument. That is a statement. ;-)
 

Teia

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The correct answer for an exam is "may we not".
"May not we" us ungrammatical.
"May we" is not a typical tag question because it is not the negative of the main sentence.
"Can't we" is the correct answer for "We can leave now ..."

In any fair test of tag questions, either "mayn't we" (which I don't recommend; besides, it's not an option) or "may we not" have to be right.


Hi Raymott!

Thank you very much for clarifying that.

I was taught that may not does not have a short form [ as in mayn`t ]. Is it true or it just does not sound good?

Thank you again.
 

Teia

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A better question would be to ask which you don't use.

Hi Tdol!

I`m afraid I don`t understand your sentence. You mean, I should put it some other way, as in : May we leave now?

Have I understood your point of view correctly?

Thank you.
 

Raymott

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Hi Raymott!

Thank you very much for clarifying that.

I was taught that may not does not have a short form [ as in mayn`t ]. Is it true or it just does not sound good?

Thank you again.
Yes, "mayn't" is a word, but few people use it any more.
 
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