What are question tags? How do I use question tags correctly? Will question

tags make me sound more natural when I speak English? Yes!!!! In today's lesson I am

going to teach you how to use question tags correctly. We are going to look at:

the grammar, why we use question tags, and very importantly, the intonation.

I'm Arnel from Arnel's Everyday English. Let's begin. It's raining quite

hard, isn't it? Oh tomorrow we have that presentation, don't we? You don't like fish, do you? In

all three sentences, the little bits at the end: isn't it? don't we? do you?

Those are the question tags. And in writing, they are separated by a comma.

Now, how do we form question tags? We usually have a positive statement, and a

negative tag, like in our earlier example: it's raining quite hard isn't it? Positive

statement, negative tag. Or, a negative statement and a positive tag: you don't

like fish, do you?

Common mistake: We don't use question tags in a question. Do you speak English,

do you? That's not correct. Rule number one, let's start with: BE. Be is the most

common verb in English. It's like the king, the king of verbs. Am/are/is/was/were,

are all forms of BE. Be in the statement. Be in the tag. It is cold today, isn't it?

Positive statement, negative tag. Oh these chilies they're really spicy,

aren't they? Positive statement negative tag. That restaurant wasn't very good, was

it? Those flies were so annoying, weren't they? But what about: AM? As in I am. I'm

next, am I? We use aren't when we say I. I'm next,

aren't I? I'm the tallest here, aren't I? This brings me to another very important

point. With question tags, remember they're common in spoken English so we

contract. It's very uncommon to say: it's cold today, is it not? Contract those tags.

Rule number two: Auxiliary verbs. Auxiliary in the

statement, auxiliary in the question tag. You can play the piano, can't you?

What's my main verb? Play. What's my auxiliary? Can. We use can in the

question tag. You're working late tonight, aren't you?

What's my main verb? Working. What's my auxiliary? Are. Use are in the

question tag! We haven't seen Frank and Amy in ages, have we? Main verb? Seen. Auxiliary

verb? Have. Use have in your question tag.

Number three. Now, let's look at this statement:

Brian plays football. There's no BE and there's no auxiliary, we only have one

verb: play. What do I do? Use: do, does, or did. Brian plays football,

doesn't he? Your parents live in New York, don't they?

Okay, how are you feeling? Let's do a mini-review. Be in the statement, be

in the tag. Auxiliary in the statement, auxiliary in the tag. No auxiliary, no be,

use: do/did/does. Imperatives, number four. Come here, will you? Close a window, will

you? I know this is a lot of information but question tags are very common. I

guarantee 100% that when you're watching your next movie or TV program, you're

going to hear a question tag. Ninety nine percent ninety. So, grammar

is very important, but so is intonation. And intonation is very important when

using question tags. Now, what is intonation? Intonation is the way your

voice changes when you're speaking. Intonation really communicates emotion.

When we use question tags, there are two types of intonation. We have: rising

intonation and falling intonation. When we use rising intonation we are asking a

question, we need information because we don't know something.

But when the intonation falls, we are confirming information. It's not a real

question, we're asking for agreement.

Let's do a few examples:

You don't know where my phone is, do you? This clock is wrong, isn't it? You've been

to South Korea, haven't you? In these examples you can

hear the intonation rises, it goes up at the end, because I'm not sure, I'm asking

a question. Now if I'm not looking for information, I'm just confirming

information, the intonation falls. Rachel baked cookies for everyone. I know she's

such a nice lady, isn't she? Ah these cookies are awful. They're not

very nice, are they? It's cold today, isn't it? In those examples you can hear the

intonation falling, because the information is already clear, I'm

confirming it with the person I'm talking to. Great. Now, of course, you know

this, there are always exceptions in English grammar. But use the rules that

you've learned today and you'll be one step closer to sounding

like a native speaker. I hope you enjoyed watching today's video. Don't forget to

SUBSCRIBE. Subscribe, will you? And I can't wait to see you soon for another lesson!