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Read the following tag questions, use the low rise.
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You don’t know of any good jobs, ˏdo you?
You couldn’t help with my homework, ˏcould you?
You haven’t got $10 to lend me, ˏhave you?
You don’t know where my wallet is, ˏdo you?
Transform the following general and special questions into tag questions, be friendly and polite and use the low rise.
Model:I say, Mike, could you book four seats for next Saturday?
– I say, Mike, you couldn’t book four seats for next Saturday, could you?
1. Will you ring me tomorrow to confirm if you are coming? - You wouldn’t…
2. Have you seen my new tie, Mum? – You haven’t…
3. Have you sent out the invitations to our party yet? – You haven’t…
4. Will you take a day or two off to go to my mother’s place with me? – You wouldn’t…
5. Will you go to Bob’s sister’s party with me tomorrow night? – You wouldn’t…
6. How long have they been playing squash? – You don’t know…
7. Have they finished work on Charles’ new swimming pool yet? – You don’t know…
8. Will you be able to go to Mexico this summer? – You wouldn’t…
9. Where is Mum? – You don’t…
10. Can you help me? – You couldn’t…
11. Do you know which doctor visited them? – You don’t know…
12. Will you send your son to technical college? – You wouldn’t…
English question tags normally have the stress on the verb; but the stress is on the
pronoun if there is a change of person.
E.g. I don’t like peas, do ˏyou? (= Мне не нравится горох, а вам?)
I like peas, don’t ˏyou? (= Мне нравится горох, а вам разве нет?)
I adore Beethoven, don’t ˏyou?
This is often a rising tag, especially when the tag contains no negation, or the intonation pattern may be the typically English fall-rise.
E.g. I haven’t been to China, have ˏyou? (low rise)
I’m looking forward to going to Mexico this year, ˎaren’t ˏyou? (fall-rise)
Read the following tag questions, mind the change of person and read the pronouns of the tags either with the low rise or fall-rise.
1. Your friend has read this book, haven’t you? a) ˏb) ˎ ̗
2. I am French, aren’t you? a) ˏb) ˎ ̗
3. He was the best in the class, weren’t you? a) ˏb) ˎ ̗
4. I remember that event, don’t you? a) ˏb) ˎ ̗
5. I am coming to the party, aren’t you? a) ˏb) ˎ ̗
6. I have finished the work, haven’t you? a) ˏb) ˎ ̗
7. They have never been to England, have you? a) ˏb) ˎ ̗
8. I enjoy summer, don’t you? a) ˏb) ˎ ̗
Write down five facts about yourself and then say things to your partner like this:
(a change of person) I got an excellent mark for the test, didn’t you?
Translate into English, use the proper intonation.
1. Я из России, а вы разве нет?
2. Вы из России, не так ли? (a response is required)
3. Я никогда не был в Англии, а вы тоже?
4. Вы никогда не были в Англии, не так ли? (the speaker isn’t sure)
5. Я собираюсь на вечеринку, а ты тоже?
6. Ты собираешься на вечеринку, не так ли? (a response is required)
7. Я не умею играть на скрипке, а вы тоже?
8. Я обожаю танцевать, а вы разве нет?
9. Он обожает танцевать, не так ли? (the speaker isn’t sure)
Tags with the low fall
Most English tag questions have the falling intonation. The falling tone is used to underline a statement. The statement itself ends with a falling tone, and the tag sounds like an echo, strengthening it. The falling tone is used when you don’t really need an answer.
E.g. He ˈdoesn’t ˈknow what he is ˎdoing, │ˎdoes he?
ˈThis is ˈreally ˎboring, │ˎ isn’t it?
It’s a ˈfine ˎday, │ˎ isn’t it?
It ˈthreatens to ˎrain, │ˎdoesn’t it?
ˈThat will be ˎnice, │ˎwon’t it?
Practise reading the following conversational situations with tag questions, use the low fall in the tags. You don’t really need any answer.
Model: It’s ˎhorrid, │ˎisn’t it?
1. – If only the day had been warmer. – Very cold, wasn’t it?
2. – The work will never be ready in time. – Never, will it?
3. – Where could we get the book? - It’s very difficult, isn’t it?
4. – Mary’s broken the ski jumping record. – Marvellous ski jumper, isn’t she?
5. – It looks like rain. – It does, doesn’t it?
6. – What a delightful family the Smiths are! – They are so friendly, aren’t they?
7. – Where did you meet him then? – In High Street, didn’t we, John?
8. – They thought we’d missed our chance. – They were quite mistaken, weren’t they?
9. – What a boring evening! – Jack’s no sense of humour, has he?
10. – None of us wants to go. – Someone will have to go, won’t they?
11. – He rarely goes to the club these days. – He used to enjoy it so, didn’t he?
12. – You can’t do it like that. – Then I must try some other way, mustn’t I?
13. – The parcel hasn’t come. – We’d better enquire at the station, hadn’t we?
14. – So you’ve finished. – Now it’s your turn, isn’t it?
15. – It wasn’t his fault this time. – But he should drive more slowly anyway, shouldn’t he?
Complete the following sentences making them tag questions. The speaker is not certain of the fact expressed in the first part of the sentence. An answer is expected. Concentrate your attention on the intonation of the tag.
1. You aren’t reading this book now, …?
2. She doesn’t like tomatoes, …?
3. He lives in London, …?
4. They usually have dinner at seven o’clock,…?
5. You like both apples and pears,…?
6. He never uses pepper,…?
7. It’s high time we had a bite,…?
8. Going out in such weather is out of the question,…?
9. You’ve passed your exams,…?
Complete the same sentences. You are certain of the fact expressed in the first part of the sentence. No answer is expected. Observe the difference in the intonation tag.
Write down five facts about your partner that you think you are sure of, and five facts that you are not really sure of and need to check. Then say things to your partner like this:
(sure)You are twenty, ˎ aren’t you?
(not quite sure)You were in London last year, ˏweren’t you?
Read the tags of the questions with the intonation suggested by the conversational situation.
1. – The exams are over at last. – It was difficult, wasn’t it?
2. – Lovely party, wasn’t it? – It was very nice to see them all again.
3. – They have bought three copies. – We don’t want so many, do we?
4. – This text is very difficult to understand, isn’t it? – Not at all, it’s very easy.
5. – What about another sandwich? – No, thank you. I’ve had enough, haven’t I?
6. – You see no mistakes in this paper, do you? – Yes, I do, but not many.
7. – It’s so fine to see them again, isn’t it? – Oh, yes. It is.
8. – She’s better today, isn’t she? – I’m afraid not. The temperature is still high.
9. – You are not very well, are you? – Yes, I am. I am much better now.
10. – You were in England, weren’t you? – No, I wasn’t.
11. – The play was wonderful. – You like it, don’t you?
12. – You like those books, don’t you? – Shall we ask how much they are?
13. – You are thirsty, aren’t you? – I’d rather have a glass of water.
Read the following tag questions. Use either the low fall or the low rise according to the attitude of the speaker.
1. You don’t remember my name, do you? (a response is expected)
2. She doesn’t really want these apples, does she? (you strengthen the statement)
3. He’s read this book, hasn’t he? (you want an answer)
4. You were in England, weren’t you? (you want an answer)
5. This text is very difficult to understand, isn’t it? (you strengthen the statement)
6. Lovely party, wasn’t it? (you strengthen the statement)
7. Marvellous ski jumper, isn’t she? (you strengthen the statement)
8. I’m not too early, am I? (a response is expected)
Listen to the dialogue; concentrate your attention on the intonation of the tag questions. Say about the speaker’s attitude.
The New Pool
Andy Have they finished work on your new swimming-pool yet, Charles? When I passed by yesterday, it was being filled with water, wasn’t it?
Charles That’s right. We had our first swim in it this morning. The concrete path around it is going to be widened, but everything will have been completed before the end of the week.
AndyYou must be pleased. How long is it?
CharlesIt’s only 25 feet long and 15 feet wide, but that’s big enough to cool down in, isn’t it?
AndyAnd to get a spot of exercise in. If you normally swim twenty lengths in a big pool, you can get the same benefit if you swim up and down forty or fifty times in a small one, can’t you?
CharlesYes, but I’m hardly aiming at getting into the Olympic team, am I?
AndyHow deep is it? You can’t dive into it, can you?
CharlesOh yes you can! It’s eight feet in depth at one end. The diving board will be installed tomorrow. By the way we are holding a swimming party on Sunday, if it’s not too cold. You will come, won’t you?
AndyI’d love to come, but I’m not much of a swimmer, and I can barely dive at all. I’ll probably drown.
CharlesWell, I’m hardly the world’s best swimmer myself. Anyway there’ll be plenty to drink.
AndyGood. I’d rather drown in beer than in water.
Intermediate English Course recorded by Professor A.C.Gimson., Professor of Phonetics, University College London. Recorded in Great Britain.
Unbalanced Tag Questions
When there is special emphasis the rule applies that a positive sentence has a positive tag and a negative sentence has a negative tag.
The low rise of the tag usually creates a confrontational effect. It is mainly used when we are trying to be sarcastic or to make a strong point, to show anger, disbelief, shock, concern…
Besides positive-to-positive tag questions express a reaction as surprise or interest.
E.g. Jack: I refuse to spend Sunday at your mother’s house!
Jill: Oh you do, ˏdo you? We’ll see about that! (surprised)
He was the best in his class, ˏwas he? (disbelief / surprise)
You think you are funny, ˏdo you? (anger)
Negative-to-negative tag questions sound rather hostile.
E.g. Jack: I just won’t go back.
Jill: Oh you won’t, ˏwon’t you? (hostile)
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