PSLE is just around the corner so I’ll try to provide some tips on tackling some commonly tested question in Paper 2 questions. Let’s start with the ever-popular QUESTION TAG questions.

Follow this process when tackling Question Tags!

Step 1: Check for contractions which hide auxiliary verbs

e.g. I’m – I am

e.g I’ll – I will

e.g. I’d – I would or I had

e.g. He’s – He has or He is

This is important as these hidden verbs can lead to students providing the wrong tag

e.g. You’d go to the party, __________ you?

the answer is – wouldn’t you?

Step 2: Look out for negative adverbs 

Scarcely, Never, Hardly, Seldom

ONLY these 4 adverbs will turn that part of the sentence negative. Words like ‘dislike’ may sound negative, but they are NOT considered negative in question-tag type questions.

For instance:

He dislikes watching movies, DOESN’T he?

He (does dislike) watching movies, DOESN’T he?

so to reiterate, only THESE 4 adverbs will turn the phrase negative

e.g. He hardly does his homework, DOES he?

e.g. He never takes naps, DOES he?

e.g. He seldom exercises, DOES he?

Step 3: Label the phrases POSITIVE or NEGATIVE 

put a + or – symbol above the appropriate phrases so you know what you’re looking for. If you are looking for a POSITIVE tag, cancel out all the negative ones, and vice versa.

Step 4: Check for tenses

If the main verbs are in present tense, then the tagged verbs will also be in present tense.

Things to note:

Words like none, nobody and no one are also considered negative.

e.g. None of this is true, is it?

e.g. Nobody likes vegetables, do they?

e.g. No one is here, is there?

Another important note:

Students often confuse would and will

Would (+) —— would not (-) —— wouldn’t (negative contraction)

will (+) —– will not (-) —– won’t (negative contraction)

That’s all for today! Will provide more tips tomorrow!


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