Isn't it?

Among English speakers in Asia, especially Malaysia, one of the ubiquitous question tags is “isn’t it”. Look at these examples:

  1. He’s smoking again, isn’t it? (X)
  2. Your mom went shopping, isn’t it? (X)
  3. I’ve told you about the accident, isn’t it? (X)
  4. You’ve eaten here before, isn’t it? (X)
  5. They were here just now, isn’t it? (X)

If they have properly learnt and applied the rules of grammar, they would definitely know that question tags must follow the verb form used in the question. That means if the verb “has” is used, then the tag should be “hasn’t he/she“. Thus, the questions above should be asked in this way:

  1. He’s smoking again, isn’t he? (√)
  2. Your mom went shopping, didn’t she? (√)
  3. I told you about the accident, didn’t I? (√)
  4. You’ve eaten here before, haven’t you? (√)
  5. They were here just now, weren’t they? (√)

It is interesting to learn grammar, isn’t it? 😀

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Posted on July 9, 2009, in Word Power and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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