Hello everyone, in today’s podcast we’re going to talk about something really interesting and useful in spoken English, the famous “tag questions”, or “question tags”.

In fact, tag questions are common in most languages. In Portuguese, for instance, whenever we want the listener’s agreement with something we’ve just said, we tend to use “né”, “não é” or just ask a little question at the end of the statement, using the same words as before, like “não tava?”, “não ia?” and so on. And we normally use a negative tag question after a positive sentence and a positive tag question after a negative sentence. Let’s listen to some examples:

- Você foi à festa, ? or Você foi à festa, não foi?

- Ela não vai ficar aqui, ? or Ela não vai ficar aqui, vai?

- Ele faria qualquer coisa para jogar no time deles, não é? or Ele faria qualquer coisa para jogar no time deles, não faria?

- Tinha um grande congestionamento no centro hoje, não é? or Tinha um grande congestionamento no centro hoje, não tinha?

So, we use this structure in spoken English just as much as we do in spoken Portuguese. But, in English we have to pay attention to the auxiliary verbs (have/was/will/did/etc.), because they have to agree with the tense of the verb in the preceding sentence.

And, as I said before, when tag questions are used, the speaker doesn’t usually need information but merely expects agreement. Therefore, the tags are usually said with a falling intonation, that is, with the stress on the first word of the tag question. Now, listen to some examples in English, paying attention to the intonation of the tag questions:

-It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it? (É um lindo dia, não é?)

-I’m late, aren’t I / or in very colloquial spoken English, I’m late, ain’t I? (Eu estou atrasado, não estou?)

-I don’t need to go there, do I? (Eu não preciso ir lá, preciso?)

-You haven’t been to Miami, have you? (Você não esteve em Miami, esteve?)

-You went to the party, didn’t you? (Você foi à festa, não foi?)

-He'll be here in 30 minutes, won’t he? (Ele vai estar aqui em 30 minutos, não vai?)

-You weren’t listening to me, were you? (Você não estava me escutando, tava?)

-You can play soccer, can’t you? (Você sabe jogar futebol, não sabe?)

-I shouldn’t have told her that, should I? (Eu não devia ter contado isso a ela, devia?)

-Paul wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t because of her, would he? (Paul não estaria aqui se não fosse por ela, não é?)

-They couldn’t arrive on time, could they? (Eles não conseguiram chegar na hora, ?)

Now, note that “let’s…” has the tag question “...shall we?”. This question tag is very common in English. In Portuguese it can be used in informal situations. One way of saying it in Portuguese is "bora?" or "partiu?".


Look at these examples:

-Let’s go the park today, shall we? (Vamos para o parque hoje, partiu?).

-Let’s study for the test, shall we? (Vamos estudar para o teste, bora?).

Another interesting form of tag question is used when the sentence is in the imperative, or, in other words, when the sentence expresses an order. In these cases we normally use “will you?” Listen:

-Close the window, will you? (Feche a janela, OK?).

-Turn down the radio, will you? (Abaixe o som do radio, OK?).

Well, that’s it for today, guys. I do hope you’ve all enjoyed today’s podcast. Take care! Bye!