Hi,

Could you please add the right q-tags to the following (incomplete) questions?

(1) He may not be in the office, ????
(2) They might not be in town at the moment, ????
(3) Nick ought not to visit joints like this, ????

Hope these incomplete sentences are ok (otherwise please make necessary edits, won't you?)

Thank you!
mus-te
Contributing Member1,539
This is what I would do if I had to do the formal tag exercise:

(1) He may not be in the office, may he?
(2) They might not be in town at the moment, might they?
(3) Nick ought not to visit joints like this, ought he?

And this is what I would more likely really do:

(1) He may not be in the office, eh?
(2) They might not be in town at the moment, I think.
(3) Nick ought not to visit joints like this, should he?
Veteran Member92,097
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Mister MicawberAnd this is what I would more likely really do:
Yes, such information ( = about Real English, not "overly academic" English ) is especially interesting and valuable! Thank you!!
Mister Micawber:

Just one follow-up question if I may....

What will the tags look like for the 'positive' versions:

(1) He may be in the office, ????
(2) They might be in town, ???
(3) Nick ought to visit his friend,???

Thank you in advance for your kind help!

mus-te
(1) He may be in the office, mayn't he / may he not / won't he?
(2) They might be in town, mightn't they / might they not?
(3) Nick ought to visit his friend, oughtn't he / shouldn't he?
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MUSCOVITE(1) He may not be in the office, ????(2) They might not be in town at the moment, ????
Just an observation about these.

Tag questions generally indicate speaker uncertainty.

Tom has left, hasn't he? shows that the speaker is not sure if Tom has left. The speaker wishes to be sure that Tom has left.

1 Tom has left.
2 Tom has not left.

1 and 2 stand in a contradictory relationship with one another. They cannot both be true at the same time.
____________________

This motivation to add a tag does not exist when the statement itself already shows uncertainty.

3 Tom may be in the office.
4 Tom may not be in the office.

3 and 4 stand in a complementary relationship with one another. Both are true at the same time because both express uncertainty about Tom's being in the office.

It seems odd to express a wish to be sure about an uncertainty. It's almost like saying I don't know whether Tom is in the office, do I? Emotion: surprise

I think this is why we seldom hear tag questions after statements with may or might.

CJ
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CalifJimThis motivation to add a tag does not exist when the statement itself already shows uncertainty.
CalifJimI think this is why we seldom hear tag questions after statements with may or might.
Emotion: shake hands + a bunch of 'likes'
Anonymous:
Yes, this is a very good point, but it is true when may shows probability. What about when it shows permission. for example, what is the tag question to the following sentence?

We may leave now, ------------?

Thanks in advance.
We may leave now, may we not?

But much more common and less formal is
We can leave now, can't we?

Clive
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