Tag questions Grammar

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marie josey
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:35 pm
Location: Brittany, FRANCE

Tag questions Grammar

Post by marie josey » Mon May 09, 2016 3:03 pm

Hi everyone,
Have started teaching general English in a company.
A manager that lived in Ireland asked me can we use "amn't I" as a tag question or in questions in general.
Example: Tag question, I'm clever, amn't I ?
or in general 'Amn't I coming with you tonight?
The negative is "I am not" so....?

I know from being Irish that we use this format but it's more colloquial.
It's not proper English, can't find any examples of it anywhere!!
What do you think, it's simple but got my mine working!!


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Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 6:57 pm
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

Post by fluffyhamster » Sat May 28, 2016 12:11 am

Most grammars deal primarily with standard forms e.g. the COBUILD Grammar in section 10.111 says "Note that the negative tag with 'I' is 'aren't I', when 'am' is the auxiliary or main verb in the main clause. I'm controlling it, aren't I?" (to which I'd add, if the tag forms are uncontracted then there isn't a problem: I'm controlling it, am I not? But this sounds like a formal or dated usage). For information on non-standard/dialectal forms such as amn't and the development of the standard (though note that the standard is just another dialect, albeit the most "prestigious"), the potted historical surveys in books like the Merriam-Webster Concise Dictionary of English Usage (at its entries for ain't, and aren't I) are useful. Don't forget that there are lexical tags such as eh! (seeking affirmation) or right? (more similar to an actual question - in which case, why not simply use an inverted, auxiliary before subject question) though, which may be more economical to teach and use than tags with auxiliaries.

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