Question tags are short forms put at the end of the sentence. They may be replaced by words like right, eh, huh, etc. These simple words are used in English quite often, especially in spoken English, in order to confirm some information we talk about or to keep the conversation. Sometimes they are used just as a filler. The construction of question tags is fairly simple and even beginners shouldn’t have any problems to undertstand it.

This is the construction of a sentence we should use with a question tag:

Indicative sentence + comma + question tag + question mark

A question tag itself is created as follows:

auxiliary verb + personal pronoun

Making a sentence with a question tag is very simple: if the sentence contains an affirmative verb and has a positive meaning, we use an auxiliary verb in a negative form in question tag. Conversely, if the sentence contains a negative verb, we use an auxiliary verb in an affirmative form. Look at the examples below:

Sue is very nice girl, isn’t she?
The same as: Sue is a very nice girl, right?

Tom does not like milk, does he?
The same as: Tom does not like milk, right?

Remember to put an auxiliary verb in an appropriate form and tense as well as to use the correct pronoun:

You have not found a new flat yet, have you?

You would do that for me, wouldn’t you?

You bought a new computer, didn’t you?

It’s very hot, isn’t it?

She won’t come, will she?

There are many shops in this city, aren’t there?

Modal verbs are also auxiliary verbs, so we use them in question tags:

You can’t swim, can you?

We should go, shouldn’t we?

Words like never, hardly, seldom, rarely and many other negative adverbs or determiners make that the meaning of the sentence is negative as well. Then we use a positive form in question tags:

You have never been to Egypt, have you?

You very rarely watch TV, do you?

Nothing happened, did it?

For intermediate and advanced.

We use aren’t instead of am not:

I’m wise, aren’t I?

After let’s we use shall:

Let’s go to the cinema, shall we?

In the imperative:

We use will or can’t after negative forms and orders:

Shut up, can’t you?

Don’t talk to me like that, will you?

After positive forms we use won’t:

Be careful, won’t you?

While asking, we can use form can / could / would:

Open the window, can you?

There is a difference in pronunciation of the forms described above. If we are not sure whether something is true or not and when our sentence is more like a real question, our voice should go up (raising intonation). But if we are sure that our statement is true and we use a question tag only to keep the conversation or to invite the listener to agree with us, we should use falling intonation (our voice goes down).