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Use of auxiliaries

question tagIt’s a well-known fact that auxiliary verbs are needed when asking questions; however, there are some other cases they are worth being used:

a)to emphasize

b) to avoid repetition

c) to show surprise, amazement or interest

d) to agree – disagree

e) to check  your listener is paying attention to you


a)to emphasize:

– She’s a very busy woman but she DOES have time for her voluntary work in the Red Cross.

– We don’t meet a lot, but we DO e-mail each other on a regular basis.

DO stay, please.

– I thought I’d pass the exam, & I DID pass it!

b) to avoid repetition:

I’ve never been abroad myself, but Mike has

I love opera but my flatmate doesn’t

c) to show surprise, amazement or interest:

A: I’ve got 4 sons & 3 daughters”                     B: Have you?

A: They don’t know the band Queen”                B: Don’t they?

d) to agree – disagree:

Same opinion :

A  +  B:  So do I /  So has she

A – B: Neither does she / Neither did I./Me neither

Different opinion:

A: “I love cauliflower”                    B: “I don’t

B: “I didn’t like the film”                B: “I did”.

e) to check  your listener is paying attention to you. Question tags are used at the end of your sentence to encourage your listener to answer.

You don’t live here, do you? No real question

It’s a lovely day, isn’t it? Falling intonation

You told the manager, didn’t you? Element of doubt/ real question

You’ve phoned her, haven’t you? Rising intonation

PAY SPECIAL ATTENTIONS to tricky cases such as:

–        I’m on the  list, aren’t Ibut “I’m not late, am I?”

–         Shut the door as you leave, will you?

–         & Don’t smoke in this room, will you?

–         Let’s go out for a drink, shall we?

–         Nobody has phoned yet, have they?

–         You’ve never studied these tricky cases before, have you?

–        You have to arrive before half past eight, don’t you?

–        You’ve got a car, haven‘t you?

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