Speak like a native: How to ‘check’ in English

The bane (Verderben) of all English trainers, “blah, blah, blah, 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, negotiators and HR bods 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 tag a word at the end (ne, nicht or oder) and somehow it’s the OR is what ends up in English.

As you may know then English tags are more complicated and is 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 made up of the auxiliary verb (Hilfsverb), e.g. are, have, do, does, etc. This form is then made negative i.e. with ‘NOT’ to make the STATEMENT back into an UNSURE, if you follow my drift (jdm folgen können). 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?”

So guys, to save our sanity (geistige Gesundheit) (we English trainers) please have a go – if you can’t figure out (rauskriegen) the right question tag in the heat of the moment (in der Hitze des Gefechts), try the half way /lazy solution “blah, blah, blah, right?”.

I know, I will just have pissed you all off now by telling you about this ‘EASY’ way last after all the hard stuff – but it’s for your benefit, right? (Sorry, isn’t it?).

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