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In English one can place a question tag after statement by adding an interrogative phrase. This usually requires the interlocutor so affirm/confirm or reject the statement.

e.g.

Statement: You have not eaten, have you?
Response: Yes I have. or No I haven't.

Statement: You will go to there, won't you?
Response: Yes I will. or No, I won't.

Does such a thing as question tags exist in French? If so, how are they formed? If not, how does one request an affirmative or negative answer to a statement?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Does such a thing as question tags exist in French?

Yes, the closest equivalent is "n'est-ce-pas ?" which is much simpler as it stays invariable unlike the English form. However, it is not that much used nowadays and is becoming too formal and quite outdated, at least in France.

— Tu n'a pas mangé, n'est-ce-pas ?
— Si, j'ai mangé.
or
— Non, je n'ai pas mangé.

The casual and much more common way to prompt for a reply is to append si or non like this:

— Tu n'a pas mangé, si ?
— Si, j'ai mangé.
or
— Non, je n'ai pas mangé.

— Tu y vas, non ?
— Non, je n'y vais pas. (or the more casual: — Non, j'y vais pas.)
or
— Oui, j'y vais.

There are also more insistant / casual question tags like:

— Tu y vas, ou quoi ? (same as "or what?", similar to but stronger than the unbalanced "You'll go to there, will you?")

— Tu y vas, pas vrai ? ("You'll go to there, right?")

— Tu y vas, hein ?

— Tu y vas, d'accord ?

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1  
“Ou quoi ?” usually adds the idea of insistance, i.e. “What are you waiting to do it?”. –  Édouard Mar 25 at 10:44
    
@Édouard Indeed, answer updated. Insistance may be rendered by unbalanced question tags too, may it not ? ;-) –  jlliagre Mar 25 at 11:14
    
I’m not sure that “will you?” has the same dimension of immediacy. When I say “ou quoi ?”, I’m usually bothered because it’s not done already. It seems to me (but I’m not a native English speaker) that “Will you?” can mean “you’ll be sure to do it”, but doesn’t convey “do it now, for God’s sake”. –  Édouard Mar 25 at 11:40
    
@Édouard I'm not a native English speaker either but I guess in both languages, the tone and the context will be essential to figure out how to interpret the question tag. –  jlliagre Mar 25 at 12:42
1  
actually in English you can say "or what" -- word for word translation of "ou quoi" and it similarly is insistent and a little bit rude. ("Are you gonna make dinner or what??") –  hunter Mar 25 at 15:34

I disagree with what everyone else has said so far. In my experience it is at least as common in French as in English for someone to add such a "question tag". In particular, it is common in French to just add ", non?". That might not be how French people write seriously, but it is certainly how many of them speak informally everyday.

(In my experience it is rare for someone to add ", no?" in English -- that even sounds foreign (e.g. French!). Instead of "You've eaten, no?", someone is more likely to ask "You've eaten, haven't you?".)

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2  
I don't think anyone said that English added "no?" at the end of a statement. The OP asked if there was an equivalent to "haven't you?" and "non?" was given as an answer. I don't see where you're coming from with this answer, really. –  Kareen Mar 25 at 21:42
    
In English one can place a question tag after statement by adding an interrogative phrase. This usually requires the interlocutor so affirm/confirm or reject the statement. To which everyone replied, more or less, no, that isn't done in French, or it is done less in French than in English. My reply is yes, it is done in French, and it is done at least as often in French as in English -- for example in the simple form of adding the "question tag" (?) ", no?". –  Drew Mar 25 at 21:45
    
I have to say that's not really how your answer reads to me, but thanks for clarifying. –  Kareen Mar 25 at 21:51
    
@Kareen: I've edited my answer to try to clarify it. Thx. –  Drew Mar 25 at 22:03
    
@Drew It looks like my reply was ambiguous. I didn't mean "question tags" are rarer in French, only that "n'est-ce-pas" is much rarer. Will make that clearer. –  jlliagre Mar 25 at 22:12

Does such a thing as question tags exist in French?

Short answer: no.

If not, how does one request an affirmative or negative answer to a statement?

The whole concept of giving a statement and then requesting an affirmative or negative answer is not something common in French.

When asked "As-tu mangé ?" or "Tu as mangé ?", French people with naturally start their answer with yes or no anyway: "Oui, j'ai pris un sandwich" or "Non, pas encore".

Finally, if you want to stress the fact that the yes/no element of the answer is really important to you, then you may start your question with "Est-ce que...". Your interlocutor will then have to start their answer with a yes or no.

Est-ce que tu comprends les risques que tu as pris ?
Oui, je suis désolé.

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