Unit 11.1

Question Tags after Imperatives


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Introduction

A question tag is a short question at the end of a sentence that we use to check information, ask for confirmation or agreement.

Imperative clauses are used when people tell someone else to do something (an advice, a suggestion, a request, a command etc.).

We use question tags after imperatives to ask people to do things in a more polite way (instead of giving orders).

Form

Question tag after imperatives have this main structure:
Clause + comma (,) + question tag + ? 

If the clause is positive, we find: can’t you?, couldn’t you?, won’t you?, wouldn’t you?

If the clause is negative, we find: can you?, could you?, wll you?, would you?

Example

  • Describe the criminal’s face, can’t you?
  • Don’t help him follow the clue, can you?
  • Confess the truth, couldn’t you?
  • She is talking about discrimination. Listen, won’t you?
  • Don’t report the tax crime, would you?

Use

We use question tags after imperatives to ask people to do things in a more polite way (instead of giving orders).

We use cancould, will and would for orders.

NOTE: We do not use will for invitations.

Summary

We can use a question tag after imperatives to ask people to do things in a more polite way.

The question tags we use include: cancould, will and would.

The main structure is: we start with the clause followed by a comma and the question tag (the sentence ends with a question mark).

For example:
— “Clean you room, won’t you?= The positive imperative clause is followed by the negative question tag won’t you?
— “Do not disturb mrs. Smith, could you?= The negative imperative clause is followed by the positive question tag could you?

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

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