Tag (Questions), You’re It!


I have soooo many questions!

Tag (Questions), You’re It!

So, basically, there are a few kinds of question types in English and some (e.g.: true or false) are fairly easy for students to answer (though, sometimes still a little difficult to actually ask). And then there are “tag” questions….

I believe tag questions are called that because there’s actually a statement with a question added at the end. Like there’s a price tag added to your sweater after it has been manufactured…  We mostly use tag questions in situations where we want to confirm something that we know or at least think we know. If I’m not 100% sure the person I’m talking to works for ABC Company, I might ask: “You work for ABC Company, don’t you?”. Sure, I might be wrong, but I believe I’m right, so I want to confirm the details. So, broken down by part: 1)my thinking + 2)the confirmation question tag. It is sometimes more preferable and less direct than a…direct question.

Since part 1) is usually something I believe, assuming I am right, the answer should be in agreement. If I am right about the person working for ABC company, their answer should be “Yes, I do”.

So, there’s a pattern here, assuming my thinking is correct. Q)+, -? A)+. The answer will often match the statement. Q)You work for ABC Company, don’t you? A)Yes, I do. The same works for positive tag questions. Q)-, +? A)-. The answer will often match the statement. Q)You don’t work for 123 Company, do you? A)No, I don’t. The pattern is one good way to keep track of how you might answer.

There are other considerations, though…

・If the questioner is fairly confident in their statement, their tone will likely drop at the end of the statement and question tag. Sometimes, we use tag questions and we truly don’t know the answer (we’re trying to be more polite) and in that case, the questioner’s tone will likely rise at the end of the statement and question tag.

・Sometimes we may use tag questions, confident we know the answer…but we’re dead wrong. In that case, the person responding to the question can help the questioner save a little face by starting their answer with “Well, actually… and then provide the questioner with the correct answer.

・With action words like do, can, have, will, should and a few others, the pattern is pretty much a mirror of the word (e.g.: You can swim, can’t you? Yes, I can. But it gets a little more difficult with other action words like eat, run, hate, etc. Basically, non-auxiliary verbs. For those, the first action word is used in the statement and from then on, we use a form of do (do, does, don’t, did, didn’t). For example: Q)You run five miles a day, don’t you? Yes, I do

Again, as with so many other aspects of English, please don’t let these rules get you so uncomfortable you don’t take the opportunity to actually speak. If you’re not a native speaker, it is your right to make mistakes. We learn way more from our mistakes than from our successes.



つまり、基本的に英語の疑問文にはいくつかの種類があり、学習者さんが答えるのがかなり簡単なもの(例えば、正しい もしくは 正しくない)もあります(それでも、実際に質問するには少し難しい場合もありますが)。





もし、私が話している相手がABC社で働いていることに100%の確信が持てない場合、“You work for ABC Company, don’t you?”(あなたはABC社で働いていますね?)と尋ねるかもしれません。



1) 自分の考え + 2) 確認の付加疑問。



もし私がABC社で働いている人について正しいのであれば、その答えは “Yes, I do”(はい、そうです。)となるはずです。


Q)   肯定形, 疑問形?

A) 肯定形


Q) You work for ABC Company, don’t you? (あなたはABC社に勤めていますね?)

A)  Yes, I do. (はい、そうです。)


Q)   疑問形, +肯定形

A) 疑問形


Q) You don’t work for 123 Company, do you?(あなたは123社で働いていませんね?)

A) No, I don’t.(いいえ、123社で働いていません。)







・do, can, have, will, should などの動作を表す語では、ほぼその語を反映するパターンになります。

(例:You can swim, can’t you?  Yes, I can. あなたは泳げますね? はい、泳げます。)

しかし、eat, run, hate などの他の動作を表す語では、少し難しくなります。

基本的には、助動詞でないもの。それらの場合、文の中で最初の動作語が使われ、それ以降はdoの形(do, does, don’t, did, didn’t)を使うことになります。

(例:You run five miles a day, don’t you?  Yes, I do. あなたは1日に5マイル走っていますね?はい、そうです。)