Unit 11.1

Nobody, Nothing and Somebody (Indefinite Pronouns) in Question Tags

Syntax

A question tag is a short question at the end of a sentence that we use to check information, ask for confirmation or agreement. {See Question Tags, A2 Level}

We use question tags in different ways, depending on the kind of indefinite pronoun we use. {See Indefinite Pronouns, Level B1}

  • We use nothing, something and everything with it when we make a question tag:
    Nothing + clause, + [question tag with it] ?
    Something/Everything + clause, + [question tag with negative auxiliary with it] ?
  • We use nobody, somebody and everybody with they when we make a question tag:
    Nothing + clause, + [question tag with they] ?
    Somebody/Everything + clause, + [question tag with negative auxiliary with it] ?
  • Nothing is related to security, is it?
  • Something
  • Everything is philosophic, isn’t it?
  • Nobody came from the army, did they?
  • Somebody
  • Everybody attacked each other, didn’t they?

We use question tags in different ways, depending on the kind of indefinite pronoun we use.
{See Indefinite Pronouns, Level B1}

  • When we use nothing and nobody, the sentence is positive, but the meaning of the statement is negative. So we need to use positive question tags;
  • When we use everything, everybody, something and somebody, the sentence is positive, so we need to use negative question tags.

NOTE: In question tags we raise our voice when we don’t know the answer; while we use  falling intonation when we already know it.

When we use nothing or everything  in a sentence, question tag should be it.

If there is nobody, everybody or somebody, question tag should be they in order that sentences are grammatically correct.

License

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