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Question tags in complex sentences

Question tags in complex sentences.

Sentences having one main clause  and  one or more subordinate clauses are known as complex sentences.

Main clause:-                Part of a sentence having a complete meaning

Sub ordinate clause:-  Part of a sentence having an incomplete meaning

Eg:  Though he worked hard,  he couldn’t perform well in the exam.

Here in the sentence, the first part,  Though he worked hard,  is incomplete in its meaning.  So this part is said to be the subordinate clause of the sentence.

But the second part, he couldn’t perform well,  is complete in its meaning.  So this part is said to be the main clause of the sentence.

Here, in this topic Question tags in complex sentences,   only the question tag of the main clause of the sentence is  generally said or written.

Eg:  When I reached there, My friend  Mathew gave me a warm welcome,  didn’t he?

Here, the second part of the sentence is the main clause. So the question tag of the main clause is used.

Another example,

Rani  mightn’t have  thought that his father would give her such a birthday gift,  might she?

Here, the main clause is the first part of the sentence, that is why its question tag is used.

 

Exceptional rule.

If  the subject of the main clause is  first person  ‘ I ‘,     then the question tag of the subordinate clause should be used.

EgI hope that Merlin  will win the exam, won’t she?

Here, the main clause is,  I hope.  But its subject is first person ‘I’. So its question tag is not used. Instead,  the question tag of  the subordinate clause,  that Merlin will win the exam,   ‘won’t  she?’ is used.

One thing  we should understand that the first person subject ‘I’  of main clause  in a complex sentence is not mentioned  in spoken form.

So,  the complex sentence in the above example can be used in spoken form as,

Hope Merlin will win the exam.

On seeing this sentence many of us may get confused and may think whether it is an imperative sentence, as it appears beginning with a verb.

 But the fact is that it is a complex sentence,  having the main clause beginning with first person subject ‘I ‘,   used in spoken form.

Eg:  Think it may rain ( spoken form)

        I think that it may rain  ( written or standard form)

That is, if we see a complex sentence in spoken form in this way, we should understand that the subject of the main clause is ‘first person subject’ ‘ I’  and  also,   the question tag of the subordinate clause  has to be used as the tag of the complex sentence.

Eg: Think it may rain,  mayn’t it?

Here, as the subject of the main clause is supposed to be the first person ‘I’,  the question tag of the subordinate clause, that is,   mayn’t I ? is used

Another example

I hope that my father would allow me to join the programme,  wouldn’t he?    

Hope my father would allow me to join the programme  ( the complex sentence used in spoken form)

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