The usage of something like

  • Were you vs.
  • Weren't you

for an example:

You were going to talk to Michael, (were you/weren't you)?

In the sentence above, which makes sense grammatically? And if both makes sense then what is the difference between ending that sentence with "were you?" or "weren't you?".

You were going to talk to Michael, were you?

You were going to talk to Michael weren't you?

  • Those are tag questions. The general rule is that for a positive statement, put a negative tag, and vice versa. So, it is, in your example, (weren't you). If you wanted it to say it in a sarcastic manner, then it is (were you). A recommended wikipedia page.
    – Tasneem ZH
    Mar 31 '19 at 11:42

Tasneem is correct. for a positive statement, you want to use the negative, "weren't you" and vice versa for the positive.

Here are some examples:

You were going to talk to Michael, weren't you?

You weren't planning on finishing your book tonight, were you?

I shouldn't sign up for ten classes, should I?

He wasn't trying to ask for help, was he?

In some specific cases, you are allowed to use the form which agrees instead of contradicts your previous statement. However, it makes you sound pretentious, sarcastic, or taunting. I believe that Draco Malfoy uses this a lot in the Harry Potter books.

You were going to talk to Michael, were you?

Sounds like the speaker is daring you to do so, saying that you aren't brave enough or maybe aren't important enough.

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