Íàçâàíèå: Business Grammar Builder. Äåëîâîé àíãëèéñêèé: ãðàììàòèêà (Ë.Â. Êîðóõîâà Í.Í. Íîâîñåëüöåâà)
Unit 16 questions 2
Question tags: form A
A question tag is a short phrase at the end of a statement that turns it into a question. It invites the other person to reply.
Question tags are formed using auxiliaries (do, be, have or a modal). An affirmative statement usually has a negative tag, and vice-versa.
You speak French, don’t you? You don’t speak French, do you?
You went to the conference, didn’t you? You didn’t go to the conference, did
You can meet him tomorrow, can’t you? You can’t meet him tomorrow, can
He’s here, isn’t he? He isn’t here, is he?
Question tags: use B
Here are five possible uses of question tags presented in a dialogue: A: You haven’t got the sales figures yet, have you?
(request for information)
B: They don’t have to be ready till Friday do they? (confirmation) A: You’re not going to leave it until the last minute again, are you?
B: Well, I haven’t had any time, have I? (defence) A: So it wasn’t you going home early yesterday, was it? (sarcasm)
If we use a negative statement with an affirmative tag, we often expect the answer to be no. A: I’m going to need an interpreter. B: Of course. You don’t speak French, do you?
This form can be more polite because it is easier for the other person to reply no.
A: You don’t speak French, do you?
B: No, sorry, I don’t.
A negative statement with an affirmative tag can also be used to ask people for things in a polite way.
You couldn’t give me a hand, could you?
You haven’t got any change for the parking meter, have you?
Question tags: other points C
If the main verb in the statement is have, you make a tag with do.
You had a meeting this morning, didn’t you?
When have is the auxiliary the tag is with have (as normal):
You’ve just been to Austria, haven’t you?
The tag with I’m 11 am is aren’t.
I’m a fool, aren’t I?
The tag with Let’s is shall. This is a suggestion.
Let’s break for coffee now, shall we?
After an imperative we can use will you? or won’t you?
Have a seat, will you?
Give me a call later, won’t you?
If the imperative is a request we can use can you? or could you?
Hold the lift for me, can you?
Pass me that file, could you?
Reply questions D
We can use a short question to reply to what someone says. We do this to show surprise or uncertainty. The meaning is like Really? or Is that true? A: I went to Head Office last week.
B: Did you? (interest)
A: I can’t install the new software.
B: Can’t you? (surprise) A: I think they’re arriving at ten.
B: Are they? (uncertainty)
The reply question uses an auxiliary verb like in a question tag, but affirmative to negative.
Indirect questions E
We can be more polite or tentative by beginning a question with a phrase like Do you know, Do you think/feel, Do you mind telling me, Could you tell me, Could I ask you, I’d like to know, I was wondering.
Do you feel this rise in interest is a result of increased recruiting? Can you
give me Yale’s profile JOT the Class of ‘99 (i.e. minority, non-US, female)? Also, you mentioned that Yale has been working hard to strengthen its inter-
(= move it to a later time, delay)
view program. Could you tell me a bit more about what the school is doing on that front?
The word order of an indirect question is like a normal statement. direct: Could you call me a taxi?
indirect: Do you think you could call me a taxi?
direct: How old are you?
indirect: Could I ask you how old you are?
Where there is no question word or modal verb we use if or whether.
direct: Does Jane still work here?
indirect: Do you know if Jane still works here?
Prepositions in questions F
The preposition comes in the same place as in a statement, following the main often at the end.
Who are you waiting for? What are you looking at? Where do you come from?
What were they talking about in the meeting?
What is it for and what was it like G
We use what... for? to ask about a purpose. The meaning is ‘why’.
What is this switch for? (= Why is this switch here?)
We use what... like? to ask if something is good or bad. The meaning is
What was the conference like? (= How was the conference?)
(= connect someone by telephone)
Exercise 1 (A, C)
Add a question tag to each sentence.
1 We’re nearly there, ….. ?
2 You know the Brazilian market, ….. ?
3 You went to Brazil in March, .…. ?
4 You haven’t been to Brazil, ….. ?
5 He’s never been to Brazil, ….. ?
6 You won’t be late, ….. ?
7 Harry isn’t going to retire, ….. ?
8 We had a good meal last night, ….. ?
9 I’m late, ..… ? Sorry.
10 Let’s meet again soon, ….. ?
Exercise 2 (B)
Make a question with a question tag.
1 Ask a colleague if he sent the fax. You expect the answer to be ‘no’.
You ..… ?
2 Ask a colleague if he sent the fax. You expect the answer to be ‘yes’.
You ….. ?
3 Ask a stranger at the airport if his name is Mr Peters. You’re not sure his name is
Your name ….. ?
4 You recognise someone. You are sure his name is Mr Peters.
Your name ….. ?
5 You guess that Biotec have cancelled their order.
Biotec ….. ?
6 You are very surprised that Biotec have cancelled their order.
Biotec ….. ?
(= there is none left)
Exercise 3 (A, B, C)
Complete these dialogues with questions tags.
Exercise 4 (B)
Choose the most likely reply in each situation. Put a tick (√).
1 If I go to Italy, I’m going to have problems with the language. a) Of course. You speak Italian, don’t you?
b) Of course. You don’t speak Italian, do you?
(= not avoid)
2 In the meeting you said that our competitors had a better product than us. a) What! I said that, didn’t I?
b) What! I didn’t say that, did I?
3 I haven’t seen Ann for ages, I think she’s working abroad.
a) Yes, that’s right. She’s got a job in Spain, hasn’t she?
b) Yes, that’s right. She hasn’t get a job in Spain, has she?
4 The deadline for the project is Friday and there’s still so much work to do.
a) It’s not looking good. We’re going to make the deadline, aren’t we?
b) It’s not looking good. We’re not going to make the deadline, are we?
5 Do you mind if I help myself to some more couscous?
a) No, of course not. You like Moroccan food, don’t you?
b) No, of course not. You don’t like Moroccan food, do you?
6 We have to be at the airport at nine.
a) You will be late, won’t you?
b) You won’t be late, will you?
(= use if necessary)