I read about question tags, and they give this example:

He has a book, hasn't he?

I think that using doesn't he? would be more logical and in accordance to modern grammar. Because I cannot say "He hasn't a book." or "Hasn't he a book?" — it's outdated. You always say "He doesn't have a book." or "Doesn't he have a book?"

  • 2
    I think this depends on whether you're British or American. See Ngram. Nov 22, 2013 at 18:05
  • The verbs have and be are preserved in question tags. Other verbs may be preserved, but are generally switched to do. I think. That's off the top of my head, which is why it's a comment, not an answer.
    – TRiG
    Nov 22, 2013 at 18:06
  • 2
    To my British ear, it sounds a bit off to use the question tag "doesn't he?" after OP's specific example (which I must admit I find difficult to contextualise). But I certainly think the "verb switch" is more natural in, say, "I have cancer, don't I?". There are 107 hits in Google Books for that version, but none at all for "I have cancer, haven't I?" Nov 22, 2013 at 18:12
  • Tottie and Hoffmann 2006 argue that "British English normally also has DO-tags as code for HAVE in anchor clauses [..] but HAVE anchors are rare." cf. their example (46) ". . . ooh, oh you have this, don’t you? (BNC-SDEM)"
    – Alex B.
    Nov 24, 2013 at 17:24
  • John hasn't passed his exams. I may come tomorrow. I need to attend the wedding party.
    – Romi
    Jul 20, 2018 at 6:17

3 Answers 3


The page specifically notes that

If the main verb is to have, either solution [hasn't he?, doesn't he?] is possible.

My American ear says this is wrong, and doesn't he? is the only correct tag, but I certainly recognize hasn't he? as valid British-English usage.


He has a book, doesn't he? He has good news, doesn't he?

He has to go, hasn't he? He has gone shopping, hasn't he?

  • When has is used for posession (has a book) we use the tag "doesn't".

  • When has is used as an auxiliary or irregular verb (he has to go/ has been shopping etc) we use the tag "hasn't".

And I believe this rule applies to UK English and American English Grammar and Spelling.


I think if the "has" acts like an auxiliary, it must take hasn't. For instance. He has taken my pen. In this statement, the "has" is an auxiliary verb to "taken". Therefore, it can't take "doesn't he"? But it should rather be "hasn't he?" But looking at this statement " He has a book", the "has" is the main verb of the statement. Therefore using "hasn't he?" won't be appropriate but rather must use "doesn't he?"

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