Unit 41. Great Film, wasn't It?
Unit 41; Part A
|Question tags are short questions added to the end of a statement,usually to produce a response from a hearer. We use a falling tone forquestion tags when we expect the hearer to acknowledge that what wehave just said is correct, for example, when we are giving our opinion:|
They didn't PLAY very well ↓, DID they ↓?
GREAT FILM ↓, WASn't it ↓?
We use a rising tone when we invite the hearer to say whether what wehave just said is correct or not, for example, when we are not certainthat something is true:
JapanESE ↓, ISn't it ↑?
NOT on a DIet again ↑, ARE you ↑?
Notice that question tags are ofen used afer statements where the subject or subject and verb have been left out.
Unit 41; Part B
|Question tags usually have a falling tone when the statement is obviously correct:|
You're not WELL ↓, ARE you ↓?
HOT ↓, ISn't it ↓?
We also use a falling tone when we want the hearer to admit thatsomething they may not have accepted before is, in fact, correct:
TOLD you I was RIGHT ↑, DIDn't I ↓?
WRONG again ↓, WEREN'T you ↓
Question tags can also follow exclamations, and these tags usually have a falling tone:
what a riDICulous thing to SAY ↓, WASn't it ↓?
Unit 41; Part C
|When both the statement and the question tag are positive, the question tag usually has a rising tone:|
Came by CAR ↓, DID you ↑?
You've FINished ↓, HAVE you ↑?
This pattern is sometimes used to be critical or sarcastic. These sentences often begin with 'So ...' or 'Oh, ...':
So you THINK you're CLEVer ↓, DO you ↑?
Question tags (usually will you, can't you, won't you, would you, or shall we)can be added to imperative sentences. These tags usually have a risingtone and are ofen used to soften a request or command:
Let's get the EARlier train ↓, SHALL we ↑?
TAKE care of THESE ↑, WOULD you ↑?
|Do you think the question tags in this conversation are likely to have a rising tone (put ↑ in the box) or a falling tone (↓)?|
Key.A: I said it would be worth the effort, didn't I? ↓
A: You're not tired, are you? ↑
B: Exhausted. Give me some water, will you? ↑
A: Not very fit, are you? ↓ Still, not much further.
B: But we re at the top, aren't we? ↑
A: Just another kilometre to go. We can't turn round now, can we? ↓
B: Of course we can. Let's go back now, shall we? ↑ Please.
A: Wonderful view from up here, isn't it? ↓
A: I said it would be worth the effort, didn't I? ___
A: You're not tired, are you? ___
B: Exhausted. Give me some water, will you? ___
A: Not very fit, are you? ___ Still, not much further.
B: But we re at the top, aren't we? ___
A: Just another kilometre to go. We can't turn round now, can we? ___
B: Of course we can. Let's go back now, shall we? ___ Please.
Now listen and check your predictions.
|Listen and decide whether the question tags in S's responses have a rising tone (put ↑ in the box) or a falling tone (↓).|
Example: A: Great race. B: She ran well, didn't she? ↓
1 A: I can do that easily. B: Oh, you can, can you? ___
2 A: We'll have to wait ages for the bus. B: But they come every ten minutes, don't they? ___
3 A: What a boring lecture. B: Yes, dull, wasn't it? ___
4 A: Shame about the colour. B: What a hideous shade of purple, isn't it? ___
5 A: Where do you want these boxes? B: Put them over there, would you? ___
6 A: I think there's something wrong with the printer. B: You broke it, didn't you? ___
7 A: Can I get a discount on these tickets? B: You're a student, are you? ___
Now listen again. Press 'pause' before each B part and read it aloud.Then press 'play' again and compare your pronunciation with whatfollows.
|Suggest an appropriate question tag to complete B's responses. Thenread them aloud, using either a rising or falling tone on the tag asappropriate.|
Key.(Speaker A = Jamaica)
The most likely tag with the more likely tone is given. These are used on the recording.
1 aren't they ↑ (↓ is also possible, but less likely)
2 wasn't it ↓
3 will there ↑ (↓ is also possible, but less likely)
4 are you ↓
5 could (or can/will/would) you ↑
Example: A: Did you see the eclipse yesterday?
B: Fantastic, wasn't it ? ↓
1 A: Don't forget your gloves.
B: They're yours, ________________?
2 A: He could have been killed crossing the road like that.
B: What a stupid thing to do, ________________?
3 A: Try to come early to get a good seat.
B: There'll be a lot of people, ________________?
4 A: What a terrible noise.
B: You're not a rock music fan, ________________?
5 A: Where shall I leave you?
B: Drop me in front of the station, ________________?
Now listen and check your answers.
Follow up:Many other languages have question tags, although in some a singlequestion tag is used rather than the large number found in English.Think about the intonation of question tag(s) used in your firstlanguage. Does it follow a similar pattern to that described in thisunit for English question tags?
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