Asking Your Child Questions in Standard English

Watch how you ask your child a question. You may be passing bad language habits to him/her.

Here is an example of a question that parents may ask their kids.

“Your friends will be coming this afternoon, is it?”

Do you know what’s wrong with this question? Test yourself and your child.
Did you spot the mistake? The correct way to phrase this question is:

“Your friends will be coming this afternoon, won’t they?”


Pay Attention to Question Tags

You should use “won’t they” as a question tag at the end of the sentence because it should match with “will be” in the main sentence.

Here are some other examples:

  • Do not say: You have not been to the Esplanade,is it?
    Ask this instead: You have not been to the Esplanade, have you?
  • Do not say: He has never eaten durian before,is it? 
    Ask this instead: He has never eaten durian before, has he?
  • Do not say: Jenny is always late,is it? 
    Ask this instead: Jenny is always late, isn’t she?


Source: Edited from “Grammar Matters” a series of handbooks by RELC.

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