I guess you're studying < aren't you?/ don't I?> [tag question]

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Jin akashini

Senior Member
vietnamese
Hi every one ,
I want to ask you about Tag question in this sentence " I guess you're studying at a musical school like your dream, aren't I". I know that the tag question "aren't I" is wrong in this case , but I do not know what tag question I should use in this sentence : "don't I " or "aren't you".
Thank in advance !
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    This one is easy to fix, Jin akashini. It will make perfect sense if you replace "aren't I?" with "aren't you?": I guess you're studying at a music school like the one in your dreams, aren't you?

    You may notice that I changed a few words in your question. Although we aren't allowed to rewrite sentences, I thought these changes were fairly minor.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I would use 'aren't you?' That is the question the other person could answer.

    "Don't I [guess you're studying at a musical school]?" is a question only you could answer, so you wouldn't be likely to ask it.

    Here are some previous threads discussing similar quandaries:
    Tag question - I don’t think you are a professor, <are you, do I>?
    Tag question - I guess you are thinking it over, <am I not, aren’t you>?
    Tag question - I think Garry’s father needs must go abroad on a secret mission, ...?
    Tag question - I think you've met Hawking, <...>?

    :)

    Cross-posted with Owlman.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hi every one ,
    I want to ask you about Tag question in this sentence " I guess you're studying at a musical school like your dream, aren't I". I know that the tag question "aren't I" is wrong in this case , but I do not know what tag question I should use in this sentence : "don't I " or "aren't you".
    Thank in advance !
    The general rule is that you invert (inverting means reversing the order of subject and verb) the auxiliary or implied auxiliary. If the sentence is affirmative you add a negative, and vice versa (I do -> don't I?; I don't -> do I?). There are some small problems:

    1. What do I mean by the auxiliary? Some tenses use auxiliary verbs - I have seen, I was watching etc. - it's the underlined words that you invert.

    2. What do I mean by the implied auxiliary? Some tenses don't use auxiliary verbs - I saw, I watch - so there's no auxiliary to invert. But when we use these tenses in negative and interrogative forms we use an auxiliary - I did not see, I do not watch - these are what I mean by implied auxiliaries. It's these forms that you invert (did I? do I?)

    3. Some auxiliaries have irregular forms: make a tag of I am and you get aren't I, for instance. You need to know these irregularities.

    4. Some sentences, like the one in your question, Jin Akashini, contain more than one verb, so one can wonder which verb one should invert to get the tag. Your choice of verb to invert will alter the meaning, and probably the whole tone of your sentence.

    This means that we have two possibilities for the sentence, I guess you're studying at a musical school like your dream.

    a. Invert I guess -> implied auxiliary: I do -> invert: do I?-> add a negative: don't I?

    Result:I guess you're studying at a musical school like your dream, don't I? - the speaker is asking for confirmation that he/she is guessing that you are doing this. As Cagey points out, this is an unusual thing to say, because only we have first-hand information about our inward thoughts and mental activities. There are, however, some tiresome people who use this sort of a sentence as a rhetorical device when irritated. There's nothing in the sentence otherwise to suggest irritation, so I'd discount this solution.:thumbsdown:

    b. Invert the verb in the subordinate clause (you are studying) -> it already uses an auxiliary (you are): are you? - add a negative: aren't you?

    Result: I guess you're studying at a musical school like your dream, aren't you? - the speaker is asking for confirmation that this is how you are studying. This is a much more likely question that the question in a., so I expect it's what you are looking for, Jin Akashini.:thumbsup:
     
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