It looks like you’re using an ad blocker.

Would you like to support LEO?

Disable your ad blocker for LEO or make a donation.

  • Topic

    Question tag with "nobody"

    "Nobody is perfect, ...?" (my idea: 'are they?')

    What question tag would be used along with this phrase in British or American English, respectively? Or can this phrase not be used with a question tag at all?
    Author Angus (395412) 02 Mar 11, 10:30
    Dazu fällt mir nur "right?" ein.
    #1Author Werner (236488) 02 Mar 11, 10:36
    I thought of the same thing as Werner. People often use "are they?" in cases like this, but some people consider it a mistake, so it might be worth avoiding in careful writing.
    #2Author CM2DD (236324) 02 Mar 11, 10:40
    Ich (als Non-Native Speaker) tendiere hier auch am ehesten zu

    "... right?"

    bzw. umgangssprachlich: "... eh?"
    #3Authorsulay02 Mar 11, 11:36
    I think few Brits would flinch at "are they?", though. It's the colloquial/idiomatic tag to use and is referred to neutrally in grammar books, as I recall. "right" (still?) has a vaguely AE air, IMO and, if anything, may even get a more disapproving reaction in the UK than "are they?", depending on the situation or listener/reader.
    #4AuthorKinkyAfro (587241) 02 Mar 11, 13:01
    ...are they?

    I've been teaching this for 40 years. Of course it's not a mistake, it's the only possibility.
    #5Author escoville (237761) 02 Mar 11, 14:01
    Agree escoville.
    ... are they?

    Right? sounds much more casual and very un-British.
    #6Authortomtom(UK)02 Mar 11, 14:22
    People say "right?" all the time in the UK; the effect it has depends on how hesitantly you say it. I've never thought of it as American. I agree that "are they" is also perfectly common in speech, though.
    #7Author CM2DD (236324) 02 Mar 11, 14:30
    Right? Very contemporary correct American English.
    Are they? Correct, agree with others who said that.

    Alt: Don't you think? Maybe that's slang American English.
    #8Authorfeinmain (777621) 02 Mar 11, 14:31
    Wie wäre es bei "Nothing is impossible"? Hier würde ich intuitiv "is it?" bevorzugen.
    Und bei "Nobody's missing" scheint mir kein question tag zu passen...
    #9AuthorYora Unfug (694297) 02 Mar 11, 15:03
    #9: Wie wäre es bei "Nothing is impossible"? Hier würde ich intuitiv "is it?" bevorzugen.

    That's right.

    #9: Und bei "Nobody's missing" scheint mir kein question tag zu passen...

    "are they?" is the obvious one for native speakers from the UK (same as for "Nobody's perfect").

    There are other points I'd like to make about the other posts but don't have time right now. It's certainly worth looking at good grammar books on this: question tags are a complex topic and probably one of the hardest things about English.
    #10AuthorKinkyAfro (587241) 02 Mar 11, 15:50
    I find "..., right?" can be very irritating. I wouldn't recommend it to a foreigner.
    #11Author escoville (237761) 02 Mar 11, 15:56
    What if the foreigner wants to be irritating? :-o
    #12Author CM2DD (236324) 02 Mar 11, 16:00
    No foreigner would ever dream of wanting to be irritating, right?

    #13Authorfeinmain (777621) 02 Mar 11, 16:11
    This one certainly never does. Honest.
    #14Author CM2DD (236324) 02 Mar 11, 16:33
    You can't stop your foreigners being irritating if that's what they want to be, but you can warn them against being irritating by accident.
    #15Author escoville (237761) 02 Mar 11, 16:39
    I thought we were irritating simply by virtue of being foreigners. I had no idea I was supposed to be making an effort.

    My father used to go ballistic at "Everybody" and Nobody" used with a plural verb or what have you. That aside, I do think "are they" is widely used and accepted as the right question tag. We are speaking in the gramatical singular, but thinking in the plural.
    #16Author Selkie (236097) 02 Mar 11, 16:39
    Nobody's perfect init?

    If you're from London and really want to irritate the linguistic purists :o)
    #17AuthorAli 02 Mar 11, 16:47
    M-W Dictionary of E. Usage 1995 has quite a long discussion of "they":
    Describes it as "common standard use" but also lists various people who complain about it. Hence my warning that some people dislike "they" here. Them* foreigners need to know that too.

    *warning: don't use that either!
    #18Author CM2DD (236324) 02 Mar 11, 16:48
 ­ automatisch zu ­ ­ umgewandelt