Positive statements with positive question tags | DailyStep English

Positive statements with positive question tags

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This is Jane Lawson's Audio Blog #119 at DailyStep English

Jane Lawson English teacher Hello, I'm Jane at DailyStep English and welcome to my Audio Blog!

This week I'll teach you some special uses of question tags in English, and the correct intonation to make sure you say them properly. There are also some free audio descriptions of all the topics in next week's DailyStep audio lessons. 

Here is Audio Word Study #119 from Jane Lawson at DailyStep.com


Special Uses of Question Tags

In my last blog, I taught you about how to use auxiliary verbs in question tags. As I explained the general rule is that a negative question is followed by a positive tag, and vice versa. Intonation is very important when using question tags so your listener knows if you are asking a real question or simply checking/confirming information.

But in a few cases, we also use POSITIVE STATEMENT + POSITIVE QUESTION TAG

We do this when we want to express emotion such as disbelief, suspicion, shock, anger, sarcasm, strong interest and so on. Again, using the correct intonation is absolutely vital here. Listen to and speak along with these examples, and try to copy the intonation:

1. So, they are getting married, are they? That’s great news! (note: this expresses strong interest with some surprise)

2. You think you’re funny, do you? Well, I don’t! (note: this expresses sarcasm)

3. You can run faster than me, can you?  Let’s have a race then! (note: this expresses disbelief)

4. He’s going to do it today, is he? He has been saying that for weeks! (note: this expresses sarcasm and disbelief)

5. So, you are sorry now, are you?  Well, you should have said so much earlier.  (note: this expresses anger)

We also use POSITIVE STATEMENT + POSITIVE QUESTION TAG sometimes when we are making suggestions. Listen to these examples, paying particular attention to intonation:

6. Let’s go to the park, shall we?

7. We will write to him today, shall we? (notein both these examples, the tag ‘shall’ is used, as it is the ‘suggestion’ modal)

Finally, we use POSITIVE STATEMENT + POSITIVE QUESTION TAG when there is a ‘hidden negative’ in the statement. Look at these examples:

8. Nothing is better than this, is it? (note: here, ‘nothing’ is a negative subject of the verb, so we use a positive question tag because the statement is actually a negative statement. Other negative subjects are: no-one, nobody, and so on. )

9. You hardly know him, do you? (note: here, ‘hardly’ means ‘almost not’, so it gives the verb a negative meaning. Other adverbs like this are: scarcely, barely, rarely and never.)

Now, try to write and say your own sentences using positive statement with positive question tags. Try to use examples that are true to your own life, as this will help you to remember them better. That’s all for Audio Word Study #119 from Jane Lawson at DailyStep.com


Download this lesson

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Now listen to these free audio summaries of next week's DailyStep Audio Lessons. Remember to speak along with the audio to help your pronunciation. 

Level 5: Advanced Level

Tell me your problems! 

Discussing personal problems in English - advanced English audio lessons
Jenny Wilson is the agony aunt for Radio South East and she deals live on air with problems of some of the show’s listeners. These 5 lessons will have you laughing as the cutting and rather unsympathetic Jenny gives her no-nonsense advice. You will learn plenty of idioms, phrasal verbs, how to describe personal problems, how to give advice – and also how to understand various accents.

Level 4: High Intermediate Level
try a lesson: level 4 | niveau 4 | nivel 4 | livello 4 | レベル4 | 레벨 4

Moving house and negotiating. Andy’s landlord gives him an eviction notice, so Andy has no choice but to start hunting for a new apartment. With the help of a local estate agent, he finds a flat that he is interested in and enters into negotiations over the rental value. In these 5 lessons, you will learn how to negotiate a better price and how to make a deal – as well as learning idioms and phrasal verbs related to accommodation.

Level 3: Intermediate Level
try a lesson: level 3 | niveau 3 | nivel 3 | livello 3 | レベル3 | 레벨 3

How was your holiday? Patrick has just returned from a summer holiday, and Janice asks him all about it. They talk about the location, the weather, the people, the food and more.  These lessons are great practice for making conversation and small talk with colleagues, friends and neighbours – and also, of course, for talking about your own holidays.

Level 2: Elementary Level
try a lesson: level 2 | niveau 2 | nivel 2 | livello 2 | レベル2 | 레벨 2

English conversation using adjectives. With these 5 short conversations, you will learn how to compare adjectives in English, and how to ask and answer questions correctly. These lessons will teach you important grammar and conversation too.

Level 1: Beginner Level
try a lesson: level 1 | niveau 1 | nivel 1 | livello 1 | レベル1 | 레벨 1

Asking for directions and using prepositions.  In these 5 lessons, you will learn how to ask and answer questions using prepositions of place, such as IN, ON and AT.  Also, you will learn how to ask for directions and give directions.

 More English Courses

I also produce IELTS and other exam courses, and other courses where you can learn English through literature, drama, comedy, history, natural conversation and more! 

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Well, that is it for today! I’ll be in touch again soon. Thank you for your many requests about subjects you would like me to cover in my blogs. I will cover as many of them as I can!


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Best wishes,


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