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auxiliary verbs
 

Auxiliary verbs - sounding interested

 
 
 

Grammatical form

auxiliary + subject + ?
 
 

 

General usage

We can use a short question with an auxiliary to show interest in what another person is saying and encourage them to tell us more. The function of this language is similar to expressions such as 'Really?' and 'Oh yes?'

 

Short questions vs question tags

These short questions are different from question tags because:
a) Two people are speaking. The person using the short question is replying to somebody else
b) Short questions showing interest follow the same positive / negative pattern as the first speaker's statement (see below).


 

Grammatical positives and negatives

Short questions showing interest follow the same positive / negative pattern as the first speaker's statement:

S1: I'm so tired today. (positive statement)
S2: Are you? (positive short question)

S1: I don't like this cold weather. (negative statement)
S2: Don't you? (negative short question)

 

Intonation in short questions.

It is important that the intonation of the short question rises if you want to show interest in what the other person is saying (and sound polite).

S1: I'm going to the pub after work.
S2: Are you? (Interested - rising intonation). Can I come too?

S1: I bought a new computer at the weekend.
S2: Did you? (flat or falling intonation. Busy or not interested in computers)
That's nice.

S1: I bought a new computer at the weekend.
S2: Did you? (Interested - rising intonation - tell me more) What sort did you get?



ESL lesson plans

Politics and the US Election

Complete lesson Vocabulary: politics, elections; skills: political issues.
US Election ESL worksheet thumbnail 1 US Election ESL worksheet thumbnail 2 US Election ESL worksheet thumbnail 3 US Election ESL worksheet thumbnail 4
Download Politics and the US Election (PDF)
 

Gender discrimination at work

Complete lesson Vocabulary: work clothes; skills: gender discrimination; grammar: reported speech.
Gender descrimination ESL worksheet thumbnail 1 Gender descrimination ESL worksheet 2 thumbnail Gender descrimination ESL worksheet 3 thumbnail
Download Workplace gender discrimination (PDF)
 

English grammar notes

Comparison with as...as

Comprehensive grammar reference notes, illustrated.
Grammar notes on comparison with as..as thumbnail 1 Grammar notes on comparison with as..as thumbnail 2 Grammar notes on comparison with as..as thumbnail 3
Download English grammar notes: comparison with as...as (PDF)