Stage 6 Stage 7 Stage 8
 

En el blog de hoy vamos a trabajar las ‘Tail Questions’, esas preguntas cortas que se utilizan en inglés para reafirmar el enunciado al que siguen y que se aplican en función del mismo. Veamos pues estas interesantes preguntas ‘coletilla’ tan utilizadas en inglés y de las que ya os hablamos en su día en Callan School Barcelona.

 

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In Spanish, there’s a very interesting way that we can use the word ‘no.’ When we think something is true and we want confirmation from another person, we can say it at the end of a sentence, with the intonation we use to indicate a question. The following examples are in English, translated from Spanish:

  • He is a doctor, no?
  • It’s lunchtime, no?
  • John didn’t pass the exam, no?

 

It is a very simple and very useful way to get confirmation that what you have said is true. However, it isn’t so simple in English. We can ask for confirmation that what we think is true, but we must use more words to do so. Consider the following examples:

  • The teachers will help the students, won’t they?
  • She can’t play the piano, can she?
  • Scott has read this book before, hasn’t he?

 

“Won’t they?” and “Can she?” and “Hasn’t he?” are called tail questions. So how do we form this kind of sentence? Let’s put the pieces to this puzzle together. To form this kind of sentence, we use the first auxiliary verb from the main part of the sentence. Let’s look at the last set of examples again:

  • The teachers will help the students, won’t they?
  • She can’t play the piano, can she?
  • Scott has read this book before, hasn’t he?

 

The first auxiliary verbs from the main part of the sentences above are will, can’t and has. We put those auxiliary verbs at the end of the sentence in question form. “Question form” means that we put the auxiliary verb before the subject, not after.

Another important thing to note is that if the auxiliary verb in the main part of the sentence is positive, we put it in the negative in the tail question, and vice versa. We do NOT say, for example, “She can’t play the piano, can’t she?” The first auxiliary verb in the main part of the sentence is negative, therefore when we repeat this auxiliary verb in the tail question, it must be positive.

Let’s look at some examples in which the first auxiliary verb in the main part of the sentence is positive:

  • You would stay if you could, wouldn’t you?
  • They can speak Japanese, can’t they?
  • We have done this before, haven’t we?

Now let’s look at some examples in which the first auxiliary verb in the main part of the sentence is negative:

  • They wouldn’t do that, would they?
  • James won’t be there, will he?
  • You couldn’t do that before, could you?

 

What happens if there is no auxiliary verb in the main part of the sentence? If that is the case, we use the auxiliary ‘do’ in the tail question. We do this for both the Present Simple and the Past Simple.

  • Jessica drinks coffee, doesn’t she?
  • You passed the exam, didn’t you?
  • I already said that, didn’t I?

Let’s see some examples in which the verb in the main part of the sentence is negative:

  • Harry didn’t bring anything, did he?
  • Susie doesn’t play basketball, does she?
  • They don’t live there anymore, do they?

(Note that we don’t repeat a person’s name in a tail question, we use a subject pronoun)

Practice what you have learned by doing the exercise below!

 

A. Edstrom
Callan Team

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