Tag question - I wish to see my cousin before he goes on holiday, <...>?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by freedie, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. freedie Junior Member

    Chech
    I wish to see my cousin before he goes on holiday, ...........?

    a) don't I
    b) may I
    c) don't you
    d) do I
    e) does't he


    I can't find answer. Can you help me please?
     
  2. . 1 Senior Member

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    G'day freedie,
    Nice to meet you.
    The rules say that you must have a guess first.
    Once you have a go yourself and make your suggestion we can then help.

    .,,
     
  3. freedie Junior Member

    Chech
    I said "C" but my teacher said it is "B" I dont understand why?:(
     
  4. . 1 Senior Member

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    Oh I enjoy these following words.
    In my opinion your teacher is wrong an the test is poorly written so that there is no correct answer. It is almost a trick question that should be answered with an appropriate F. None of the above.

    I wish to see my cousin before he goes on holiday, ...........?

    The only logical answer is don't you.

    I wish to see my cousin before he goes on holiday?
    This is a perfectly valid question and the 'may I' is inferred by the ?

    May I see my cousin before he goes on holiday?
    This is a perfectly valid question and the wish to see is inferred by the question.

    I wish to see my cousin before he goes on holiday, may I?
    This would seldom be written by a native speaker and I would mark it wrong in a test.
    It is redundant and poses an obvious question at the end of a lucidly stated question.

    The question sets up a premise and the only way for that to be the subject of a denoument is to ask if the other person shares this premise otherwise you are simply reinforcing the premise which is an act of redundancy and English abhors the redundant.

    .,,
     
  5. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    For what it's worth I read it much more simply. The Welsh and the French have an assertive question that they put at the end of a sentence, to emphasize a point.

    The English say:
    I'm a coalminer, aren't I (am I not?) - in other words they invert the form of the opening.

    The Welsh say:
    I'm a coalminer, isn't it?

    The French add n'est-ce pas (invariable), in the same way.

    I imagined the question to be asking what was the correct inverted form in which to make the emphatic question? Not what would be a sensible or interesting answer in the circumstances.

    If I'm right. Then, because the sentence is:

    I wish to see my cousin before he goes on holiday.

    The answer has to be the standard contraction of wish I? - don't I wish? - don't I? Which is what we would say.

    Answer A!
     
  6. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I agree with Thomas Tompion. Answer A seems to be the only correct answer. Your teacher's answer, B, would work if it were a separate sentence:


    I wish to see my cousin before he goes on holiday. May I?


    It doesn't work, however, as part of the question. Actually, it's the "I wish to see" part that doesn't work with the "may I" in question form.
     
  7. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    In this case the previous subject is I and there is no auxiliary, so do will be the verb.
    The tag question is don't I.

    By a more roundabout route, I arrive at the same place as Thomas Tompion and JamesM.
     
  8. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    I wish to leave now, may I? (correct)
    I wish to leave now, don't I? (wrong)

    Wish = I want to; May = asking permission

    To me, "don't I" makes no sense in Freedie's sentence.
     
  9. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    1. I wish to leave now, may I? means I wish to leave now: may I be allowed to leave.

    2. I wish to leave now, don't I? means I wish to leave now - don't I really wish to leave? - the strange question affirming my resolve to leave.

    Both are correct English: 1. is asking permission. 2. is a strange thing to say, but you might say it to yourself to strengthen your resolve to leave.

    I thought we were being asked for the correct form of the affirmative interoggative tag, which is why I went for 2.
     
  10. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    I wonder if the point could be better made by looking at the phrase in the negative:

    I do not wish to see my cousin before he goes on holiday.

    Then the affirmative-interrogative tag would be as follows:

    I do not wish to see my cousin before he goes on holiday, do I?

    If it's do I? for the negative sentence, it must, surely, be don't I? for the positive one.


    I think both teacher and pupil can be forgiven for finding this difficult.
     

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