Unusual Question Tag Intonation


We’ve previously covered standard question tags on The Sound of English – the kind used to make a statement into a question. But there are other, less common kinds of tag in English – listen to the following questions. What is the purpose of each question tag?

The first question tag is used to make a suggestion.
The second question tag is used to show interest or suspicion.
The third question tag is used to form an instruction.

What is the structure of these question tags?

  • All of these question tags use rising intonation.
  • To make a suggestion, use ‘Let’s…..↗shall we?’
  • To show interest or suspicion, use a positive statement + ↗positive question tag.
  • To form and soften an instruction, use an imperative statement + ↗‘will, can, could’ or other modal.

DRILL

Suggestions:

Interest:

Suspicion:

You lot have been ‘studying’ in the pub, ↗have you?

Instruction:

EXERCISE

Add a suitable tag to each sentence:

A. (suggestion) Let’s buy some more gin, …..?

B. (instruction) Just leave it alone, …..?

C. (suspicion) She went to meet ‘Julie’, …..?

D. (interest) It’s the tallest structure in the Middle East, …..?

E. (instruction) Close that window, …..?

F. (interest) There are 2 million cyclists here, …..?

G. (suggestion) Let’s fly out to Goa, …..?

H. (suspicion) He wants you to lend him more money, …..?

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