Is it grammatically correct to write the question, "Is the chef Italian?" as

The chef is Italian, you think?


The chef is Italian, do you think?

I've come across this kind of questioning once or twice in real life and in T.V. shows. I am not sure, however, if it is standard usage or even correct.

  • 1
    Seems fine, don't you think?
    – nnnnnn
    Jul 23, 2020 at 13:16
  • Are you sure there aren’t two people in this dialogue? See on this site “Ya think? and “Duh”, both somewhat sarcastic responses to something considered obvious.
    – Xanne
    Jul 23, 2020 at 20:16
  • Tag questions reverse the 'negative status' of the sentence. Jul 24, 2020 at 8:53
  • @marcellothearcane Added questions (after a statement in an independent clause) which include verbs like 'think', 'say', 'agree' aren't covered in the basic treatments one finds of tag questions. Here, "The chef is Italian, don't you think?" comes across as being too confident a contention. The ', do you think' is more realistic here (there's a fair but less than near-certain probability). As I state though, the ordering of "The chef is Italian, do you think?" is unusual, redolent of a thirties novel. Jul 24, 2020 at 10:34

2 Answers 2

  • The chef is Italian, do you think?

This is grammatical, but perhaps on the rarefied side of formal. Perversely, the tag-like (true tag questions don't include lexical verbs like 'think' or 'say' ['would you say?']) version of 'do you think?' (meaning 'in your opinion') is also used colloquially:

“Whose is it, do you think?" I say finally.

"No telling," says Finnick. "Why don't we let Peeta claim it, since he died today?”

[Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire]

Here, "Do you think the chef is Italian?" is idiomatic.

But "The chef has to be Italian, wouldn't you say?" is a perfectly idiomatic example of a similar-looking type of question structure. Correspondingly, "The chef has to be Italian, don't you think?" uses the correctly structured tag-question (negative after a positive assertion), but this is less of a query than "Do you think the chef is Italian?" and more of a coercing "You have to agree with me".


  • The chef is Italian, you think?

This too is grammatical, but would only be used to confirm an implication or assertion from a previous statement (such as "This cooking is authentic Italian, not the imitation we sometimes get in 'Italian' restautants."


What (I think) you're referring to are question tags, which are indeed used in English, but:

  • if the main statement is positive, the question tag should be negative, so in your example the sentence would be "The chef is Italian, don't you think?"
  • they imply that you're fairly certain that the answer is "yes" and are just confirming it. As such, your example implies that you're convinced the chef is, in fact, Italian.

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