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In today’s class, we will be talking about question tags: asking and respond to question tag. Enjoy the class!
Question Tags: asking and respond to question tag
What are Question Tags?
Question tags are short questions used at the end of the statements to confirm if the statement is true or not. It may also be used to evoke a reply from the person you are speaking to. The subject of a question tag is always a pronoun.
E.g. It’s very hot, isn’t it?
Question tags are used in a number of ways: negative or positive, with or without an auxiliary verb, with a modal verb, etc.
Negative question tag:
If the main sentence is positive, the question tag should be negative. The pattern followed by a negative question tag is:
auxiliary + n’t + subject
Examples of negative question tag
- You are free, aren’t you?
- George broke the glass, didn’t he?
- Your sister cooks well, doesn’t she?
- She can swim well, can’t she?
Positive question tag:
If the main sentence is negative, the question tag should be positive. The pattern followed by a positive question tag is:
auxiliary + subject
Examples of positive question tag
- You aren’t busy, are you?
- He can’t drive, can he?
- Ayo doesn’t work hard, does he?
- They haven’t come yet, have they?
Question tags with an auxiliary verb:
If there is an auxiliary verb (be, have, do, is, etc.) in the main sentence, the question tag also contains the same auxiliary verb.
E.g. It’s raining, isn’t it?
Similarly, if there is a modal verb (could, can, should, etc.) in the main sentence, the question tag is also constructed with the same modal verb.
E.g. They couldn’t hear him, could they?
Question tags without an auxiliary verb:
In case, the main part of the sentence doesn’t contain an auxiliary verb, the question tag is constructed with the relevant form of ‘do’. E.g. He eats fish, doesn’t he?
Exceptions in question tags
There are certain peculiarities in the usage of question tags that don’t follow the above-mentioned rules. Examples:
- Let’s go to the beach, shall we?
- Wait a minute, can you?
- Have some more rice, will you?
- Somebody has called, haven’t they?
- There is a mosque in that street, isn’t there?
Additionally, the intonation of question tags in spoken English varies. In case of a real question, you speak with a rising intonation while if you already know the answer, you speak with a falling intonation.
When we are sure of the answer and we are simply encouraging response, the intonation in the question tag goes down:
- This is your car, isn’t it?
(Your voice goes down when you say isn’t it.)
When we are not sure and want to check information, the intonation in the question tag goes up:
- He is from France, isn’t he?
(Your voice goes up when you say isn’t he.)
Narrative and descriptive composition – narrating piece of writing or events for guide
A narrative often reflects your personal experience, explaining what happened during some sort of experience. Stories are narrative, and narrative essays have a similar purpose of telling the events to a reader. Narrative essay topics include recounting an experience where you learned something significant, your first day at school, your first job interview, a frightening encounter, an experience that changed your life and two differing versions of the same event. Narration is not always a personal experience, though; a book report is narrative since it typically spells out the plot of the book or story.
The most common types of writing assignments students encounter in composition classes are exposition, argument, narration and description. While all these modes allow a writer to explain an idea or event, they differ in the specific intent. A narrative tells a story about an event, while description creates a picture of a person, place, thing, or event for the reader.
Description uses sensory detail (sights, sounds, tastes, and smells) to describe a scene, person or feeling to a reader. As you describe, you create a three-dimensional picture so your reader can experience the item, place, person, or emotion along with the reading. Descriptive essay topics include your favourite place, your bedroom, your best friend, the most unusual object you own, an art exhibit, the best or worst teacher you ever had, your ideal job or dream home.
Stress and intonation – Expressing stressed and unstressed pattern
Stress is about which sounds we emphasise in words and sentences. For example, in the word ‘banana’ the stress is on the second syllable, in the word ‘orange’ the stress is on the first syllable. In sentences, we usually stress the most important, ‘content’ words.
Intonation is the way the pitch of a speaker’s voice goes up or down as they speak. We use intonation to help get our message across.
Understanding which words to stress
To begin, you need to understand which words we generally stress and which we do not stress.
Stress words are considered content words such as:
- Nouns (e.g., kitchen, Peter)
- (Most) main verbs (e.g., visit, construct)
- Adjectives (e.g., beautiful, interesting)
- Adverbs (e.g., often, carefully)
- Negatives including negative helping verbs, and words with “no” such as “nothing,” “nowhere,” etc.
- Words expressing quantities (e.g., a lot of, a few, many, etc.)
Non-stressed words are considered function words such as:
- Determiners (e.g., the, a, some, a few)
- Auxiliary verbs (e.g., don’t, am, can, were)
- Prepositions (e.g., before, next to, opposite)
- Conjunctions (e.g., but, while, as)
- Pronouns (e.g., they, she, us)
- Verbs “have” and “be” even when used as main verbs
In our next class, we will be talking about Question Tags: Making Sentences, Adding the Question Tags. We hope you enjoyed the class.
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