The bane of all English trainers, “You are from England, or?”. How often do we hear this on a daily basis, even from speakers, who (should) know better.
In general conversation, we often use these so-called “question tags” when ‘checking’ info. This is also a fantastic tool for sales peeps (people), negotiators and HR (human resources) bods people for interviewing
“Correct me if I’m wrong …”
“If I understood you correctly …”
“If my memory serves me correctly ….”
For once the German equivalent is actually very easy, all you do is add a word on at the end of the sentence (ne?, nicht? or oder?) and somehow it’s the ‘OR’ that ends up in the English sentence.
As you may know the English tags are more complicated and are based on grammar – yippee!!!! Let’s dive in with some examples:
• “You’re from Sheffield, aren’t you?”
• “He’s married to Alma, isn’t he?”
• “You’ve got a young son, haven’t you?”
• “You live in Münster, don’t you?”
• “You studied at Aston University, didn’t you?”
• “You’ve been in Germany for 16 years, haven’t you?”
Normally you start with a positive statement, “You’re from Sheffield,”. Next you add the question tag, which is made up of the auxiliary verb, e.g. are, have, do, does, etc. This form is then (normally*) made negative i.e. with ‘NOT’ to make the STATEMENT back into an UNSURE, if you follow my drift. And there you have a perfect question tag.
*Please also be aware that it can be formulated ‘negative statement, positive tag’ “You don’t know Dave, do you?” – that’s a whole new blog post.
So guys, to save our sanity (of your English trainers, that is), please have a go – if you can’t figure out the right question tag in the heat of the moment , try the lazy solution “blah, blah, blah, right?”.
I know that I have now just pissed you all off by telling you the ‘EASY’ way last – after all the hard stuff – but it’s for your benefit, right? (Sorry, isn’t it?).
bane (Verderben), bods (Typen), statement, (Aussage), auxiliary verb (Hilfsverb), to follow sb’s drift (jdm folgen können), be aware that (sei dir bewusst, dass …), sanity (geistige Gesundheit), to have a go (at sth), (Es (mal) versuchen), to figure (sth) out (rauskriegen), in the heat of the moment, (in der Hitze des Gefechts), to piss sb off (jdn verärgern)