the verb be in capitals or inside quotation marks

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Senior Member
Source: VOA Learning English, Everyday Grammar Tag Questions Are Easy, Aren’t They:

We’ll talk first about tag questions that follow a positive statement with the verb be.

They use a reduced form or contraction.

Make the tag question with a form of the verb be combined with the negative not and the pronoun.

I think the be should be written in capitals or inside quotation marks, but I'm not sure.
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    There is no fixed rule. I usually put words I am referring to in quotation marks. Other common ways to show they aren't ordinary words in a sentence are to use italics, bold, colour (as in your post - was this done in the book as well?) or a different typeface. Sometimes they are just left as ordinary text, but this can make the sentence difficult to read, depending on the situation.

    If you think the book got it wrong, then so have you, for you should have written the "be" in your last line in quotation marks, or whatever style you think the book should have adopted.

    For any published book or magazine, I would expect the same method to be used consistently throughout.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    This has come up before, and it transpired that “be” is an exception in that it’s the one infinitive that tends to be expressed with to rather than without it – that is, in general we say “the verb go, have, need, walk, run”, etc., but the verb “to be”.
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