Answering Tag Questions
How do we answer a tag question? Often, we just say Yes or No. Sometimes we may repeat the tag and reverse it (They don't live here, do they? Yes, they do). Be very careful about answering tag questions. In some languages, an opposite system of answering is used, and non-native English speakers sometimes answer in the wrong way. This can lead to a lot of confusion!
For example, everyone knows that snow is white. Look at these questions, and the correct answers:
|tag question||correct answer||notes|
|Snow is white, isn't it?||Yes (it is).||Answer is same in both cases - because snow is white!||But notice change of stress when answerer does not agree with questioner.|
|Snow isn't white, is it?||Yes it is!|
|Snow is black, isn't it?||No it isn't!||Answer is same in both cases - because snow is not black!|
|Snow isn't black, is it?||No (it isn't).|
In some languages, people answer a question like "Snow isn't black, is it?" with "Yes" (meaning "Yes, I agree with you"). This is the wrong answer in English!
Here are some more examples, with correct answers:
- The moon goes round the earth, doesn't it? Yes, it does.
- The earth is bigger than the moon, isn't it? Yes.
- The earth is bigger than the sun, isn't it? No, it isn't!
- Asian people don't like rice, do they? Yes, they do!
- Elephants live in Europe, don't they? No, they don't!
- Men don't have babies, do they? No.
- The English alphabet doesn't have 40 letters, does it? No, it doesn't.