With or without a question tag?

Antara Manova

Member
Bulgarian Bulgaria
I have a question with a very subtle meaning in the difference -- a sentence with or without the usage of a question tag. I'd like to hear which one sounds better. The sentence is coming from a British English speaker.

“I need to talk to Dayton and Hugh about this. I can’t raise your salary without their knowledge and approval, (now) can I?”

vs
“I need to talk to Dayton and Hugh about this. I can’t raise your salary without their knowledge and approval.”

Is there any subtle difference in the first and in the second sentence? Which is better for a BE?

Thanks
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Without the tag, the sentence is a simple statement of fact.

    If you use the tag, you are inviting the listener to disagree with you. That listener might answer "I think you can."
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I can't do X now, can I? = I can't do X. I'm sure we both agree on that. Right?

    The extra words imply it is something obviously true. It's similar to saying "of course".
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I agree with Mr Owl, except for one small thing - the question tag is not inviting the listener to disagree, but to agree. :D Of course, such an invitation can easily be turned down, so he surely has a point... :) Neither sounds better or worse to me - they are equally correct.
     
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