Introduction and question

Aaron E. Drews aaron at LING.ED.AC.UK
Fri Dec 3 10:31:43 UTC 1999

On Thu, 2 Dec 1999, Grant Barrett wrote:

}On Thursday, December 2, 1999, Rebecca Meyer <meyerr at MAIL.SDSU.EDU> wrote:
} The sentence under attack was structured exactly like a
}>tag question, but without the question mark (e.g., "You're a real
}>moron, aren't you.").
}Sounds like justification after the fact, to me. This particular mistake
}(as I believe it to be) is one of the warning signs that indicate when to
}distrust content.

Personally, I distinguish the "aren't you" question vs. statement by my
choice of punctuation.  At least in informal writing.  The question mark
to me indicates a rising intonation, which those tag questions often don't
have.  This has been a concious decision, rather than a mistake and
post-hoc justification.

As for this being a new, "official" treatment of tag questions... I don't
know.  However, in formal writing, I would always use a question mark.


Aaron E. Drews                               The University of Edinburgh
aaron at                  Departments of English Language and       Theoretical & Applied  Linguistics


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