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What is a tag question?

 

Definition
 

A tag question is a constituent that is added after a statement in order to request confirmation or disconfirmation of the statement from the addressee. Often it expresses the bias of the speaker toward one answer.

 

A tag question often includes a

 
  • be verb
  • predicate meaning ‘true’, and
  • negative.
Examples (English, German, French)
 
  • The English isn’t he?, as in the following sentence:

    He’s a pleasant fellow, isn’t he?

  • The German nicht wahr? ‘not true?’
  • The French n’est ce pas? ‘is it not?’
 
Source:

Sadock and Zwicky 1985 183

Generic
  A tag question is a kind of
 
Sources
 

Crystal 1985 304

 

Hartmann and Stork 1972 233

 

Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, and Svartvik 1985 811

 

Mish 1991 1201

 

Sadock and Zwicky 1985 182–183


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Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

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