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Question Tags I’d like to ask whether we should use ‘they’ in the question tags or not if the subjects of the statements are ‘Neither ... nor ...’ or ‘Either ... or ...’. Would someone please tell me if the following tag questions are grammatically correct? a)  Neither Bob nor her friends are willing to lend her some money, are they? (negative statement + positive tag) b)  Either Susan’s dad or her mom will be present at her graduation ceremony, won’t they? ( positive statement + negative tag) c) Either Susan’s dad or her mom won’t be present at her graduation ceremony, will they? ( negative statement + positive tag) Thank you in advance!
Jun 15, 2015 7:59 PM
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Answers · 5
How formal do you want to be? Ending a sentence with "right," as Sabrina suggests, is normal in casual conversation.But your first two sentences would also be heard in casual conversation. (The third would more naturally be "Neither X nor Y will be present ..., will they?" It's more challenging if you want to be formally correct. One may wish to try to avoid the problem, which is that "neither" and "either" are singular and "they" is plural. English doesn't have a gender neutral singular pronoun to use here--so using "they" is somewhat inelegant (and many would say grammatically incorrect). More formal versions of the questions could be: Am I right that neither Bob nor her friends are willing to lend her money? Will either X or Y be present ...? Neither X nor Y will be present ... ?
June 16, 2015
No, in conversation you would just say "right?" at the end of the sentence. It does not sound natural to add the "will they, won't they, are they" To make them most natural: a) So Neither Bob nor her friends are willing to lend her any money? b) Either Susan’s dad or her mom will be present at her graduation ceremony, right? c) Neither Susan’s dad nor her mom will be present at her graduation ceremony, right? And super natural would be: "So nobody's gonna (going to) lend her any money? One of Susan's parents is going to be there right? So neither of her parents will be there?
June 15, 2015
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Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Cantonese), English
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