eslHQ Home
User Name Password
Lost Password? | Join eslHQ.com, it's FREE!
View today's posts
Search Extras Help   

Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 9th, 2015, 09:43 am
eslHQ Member
 
Join Date: Jun 29th, 2010
Posts: 17
Natsumi is on a distinguished road
Default rhetorical questions (with question tags)

I would appreciate if someone could give me some information about this kind of question. I've come across with question tags like these ones:

Oh, so he paid you back at last, did he?
So we're meeting at 9, are we?

But I can't find a gramatical explanation in my grammar books or on the Internet. The only grammar explanation I've found so far it's that when the first part of the question is positive, the second part is negative and viceversa.

My question is: We use a question tag (positive clause, positive clause) only when we want to ask a rhetorical question? If so, can we use as well a negative clause with another negative clause? e.g. So he didn't pay you back, didn't he?

Thank you in advanced.
Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 9th, 2015, 10:47 am
eslHQ Member
 
Join Date: Nov 26th, 2014
Posts: 2
ICAL TEFL is on a distinguished road
Default Re: rhetorical questions (with question tags)

We use question tags to:

1) verify information: You're a Sagittarius, aren't you?
2) to seek agreement: He's ugly, isn't he!
3) to show negative surprise: OMG You're not marrying her, are you!


This explains it in detail: Question Tags in English Grammar
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 11th, 2015, 10:35 pm
eslHQ Member
 
Join Date: Dec 4th, 2007
Posts: 5
leon037 is on a distinguished road
Default Re: rhetorical questions (with question tags)

Hi Natsumi,

In conversation at least, it feels like you can phrase a tag question in positive or negative, if the first part is positive, but not if the first part is negative. I'm not sure whether technically you should, phrase it positive positive, but there are probably plenty of examples of this in movie scripts or everyday conversation...

i.e. with reference to your example:

He paid you back, didn't he?, or He didn't pay you back, did he? (are the normal ways to phrase this question)

"He paid you back, did he? " Seems ok to my ears. It pretty much means the same thing, but has a different shade of meaning (it sounds very casual, and may be technically incorrect, so you are safest to avoid using that, especially in tests).

"He didn't pay you back, didn't he?" Just sounds wrong.


Hope that helps.
Leon
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 12th, 2015, 03:36 am
eslHQ Member
 
Join Date: Jun 29th, 2010
Posts: 17
Natsumi is on a distinguished road
Default Re: rhetorical questions (with question tags)

Hi Leon037,

Yes, your answer helps a lot. Now I understand why I can't find these kinds of tag questions in a grammar book. I saw these tag questions in the advanced coursebook I'm using, which says you can use them as a rhetorical question, but it doesn't say anything about being a very informal way of speech, or about the use of two negative clauses.

Thank you!
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads Replies
how to teach question tags to grade 6 0
Difference between Conversational Classes and General English Classes 18
Question tags preparation 1
Question tags roleplay 0
Question tags roleplay 0

Find the Best TEFL, TESL, TESOL & CELTA Certification Courses - User Submitted Ratings & Reviews for Online, Distance & Abroad TEFL Courses. Over 3,500 reviews of 100+ TEFL schools!

Teach English in Thailand - Onsite and Combined TEFL certification courses in Phuket, Thailand.


Free ESL Flashcards


Similar Threads Replies
how to teach question tags to grade 6 0
Difference between Conversational Classes and General English Classes 18
Question tags preparation 1
Question tags roleplay 0
Question tags roleplay 0


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:32 pm.

All materials from this website are for classroom-use only. Digital redistribution of materials, in part or in whole, is strictly forbidden!

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2