Unit 11.1

Question Tags after Negative Adverbs

Syntax

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

Some adverbs have negative meanings (hardly, never, rarely, etc.). So when we use words with negative meaning, we use positive question tags.

We find positive question tags after the sentences that include negative words or consist of negative words. These negative words are usually adverbs (hardly, never, rarely, scarcely, seldom…).

The structure is:
Positive sentence with negative statements + ,+ positive question tag + ?

  1. They are hardly aware of the increase in birth rate, are they?
  2. There has never been an exploitation in this company, has there?
  3. People are rarely worried about the bombings nowadays, are they?
  4. He scarcely finished university, did he?
  5. You seldom go to the beach, do you?

We use positive question tags when we have these negative adverbs, because the sentence is positive, but the meaning of the statement is negative.

The adverbs that have negative meanings are:

  1. Hardly: with difficulty, almost not;
  2. Never: not under any condition, not at any time, not any reason;
  3. Rarely: not often;
  4. Scarcely: probably not;
  5. Seldom: in a few cases, almost never.

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