Question tag for 'let me'

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Dawnstar, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. Dawnstar Member

    If I can say, for example: Let's go for a walk, shall we?,
    then what's the question tag for a sentence beginning with 'Let me', for example: Let me ask you a question?

  2. ribran

    ribran Senior Member

    Austin, Texas
    English - American
    Will you​?
  3. DocPenfro

    DocPenfro Senior Member

    Little England
    English - British
    "Let me ask you a question, would you?" - "would you" is considered to be a politer term than "will you", so it would depend on the context and your relationship to the person to whom you were speaking.
  4. Pertinax

    Pertinax Senior Member

    Queensland, Aust
    Dawnstar's first sentence ("Let's go for a walk, shall we?") is a first-person plural let-imperative, so perhaps he intended his second sentence to be interpreted as a first-person singular let-imperative.

    Posts #2 & #3 have, I think, interpreted it as a second-person imperative with "let" meaning "allow .. to". In that case "will you?" or "would you?" would be appropriate. But I don't think that they fit a first-person imperative in general.

    If I mutter under my breath, to no one in particular:
    Let me think.
    Let me see.
    Don't let me make a fool of myself.
    Let me have men about me that are fat.
    (Julius Caesar)
    .. I can't think of any interrogative tag that fits. Not "shall I?" nor "will you?" nor "may I?".
  5. "Can I" or "may I" would fit if you're asking permission to ask a question.

    Let me ask you a question, may I?

    However, in my experience, by far the most common question tag in such situations is that useful little word "OK."

    Let me ask you a question, OK?
  6. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    Question tags traditionaly invert the form of the subejct and verb and shift positives to negatives and vice versa.

    Let me ask you a question, will you? is certainly a possible way of posing a question, but I don't think the will you? is a question tag in the traditional sense. The whole looks to me more like a rearrangement of Will you let me ask you a question?

    You wouldn't let me ask you a question, would you? has a true question tag at the end.

    The shall we? in Let's go for a walk, shall we? isn't a traditional question tag either, by a similar token - it's not in a negative form for instance. I'm tending to the view that question tags turn affirmative statements into questions eg. He isn't coming, is he?

    and that they can't perform the same office for imperatives.

    If the question is What brief question can one easily append to this imperative to make it stronger and give it an interrogative twist? then we've had some good suggestions, but I wouldn't call them question tags.

    My answer to the question in the OP would be that there isn't a question tag for this imperative, by definition.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  7. boozer Senior Member

    Excellent analysis, TT, as always. :)

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