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Tag Questions #5: Other Unusual Tag Endings, by Dennis Oliver

 

Tag Questions #5:

Other Unusual Tag Endings

 

Normally, tag questions end with BE or an auxiliary verb and
a subject pronoun or there. Sometimes, however, other ending
are used. We recently saw that "right?," "correct?," and "don't
you agree?" are often used as tag endings, but there are other
words and phrases that are used in this way. One of them is OK?.

When "OK?" is used as a tag ending, the meaning is special.
It normally means something like 'I know you
don't believe it,
but (statement)':

He's a nice person, OK?

(I know you don't believe it, but I think he's a nice person.)


She doesn't like me, OK?

(I know you don't believe it, but she doesn't like me.)


We remembered everything, OK?

(I know you don't believe it, but we remembered everything.)


He did a good job when he fixed my car, OK?

(I know you don't believe it, but he did a good job
when he fixed my car.)

________________________________________

 

Huh? is another unusual tag ending. It's used in three
different ways:


1.  

With normal intonation, "huh?" is used like
"right?" or "correct?":

He isn't here, huh?

(He isn't here, right / correct?)


You come here often, huh?

(You come here often, right / correct?)

     
2.  

"Huh?" is also frequently used in a sarcastic or
challenging way. With this usage, the "challenged"
information has very high pitch and both the
"challenged" information and "huh?" are stressed:

He isn't hre, hh?

(You / someone said that he isn't here,
but I don't believe it.)


He's a n
ce guy, hh?

(You / someone said that he's a nice guy,
but I don't believe it.)


You understnd me, hh?

(You said that you understand me,
but I don't believe you.)

     
3.  

"Huh?" is also used alone (and not as a tag ending).
When used alone, "Huh?" is used in two ways:

a.  

With rising intonation, it shows surprise
or shock:

A: Bob failed the test.

B: Huh? (Really? / That seems impossible!)

With rising intonation, "Huh?" can also mean
'I didn't hear you' or 'I didn't understand you:

A: Ja nje znaju njich.

B: Huh? (What was that? / What did you
say? / I didn't understand that.)

     
b.  

With falling intonation, it shows mild interest:

A: Bob failed the test.

B: Huh. (That's interesting. / I didn't know that.)

______________________________________________________

 

Special Note:

When "OK?" and "huh?" are used like tag endings, they have
rising intonation. When "Huh" is used alone, it can have either
rising or falling intonation. The different intonations in this use
of "Huh?" show different meanings or reactions.

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