I am faced with 2 multiple choice questions and I'm not sure of the answer. If anyone knows the answer I would be appreciated to explain it to me.here are the questions:

  1. It is the fact that all people are ready to try as hard as possible to become happy, ? I think the question tag that fits here is "don't they?" But in another view it makes sense to ask it with "isn't it". Now I was wondering which one would be correct.
  2. The picture painted by the child was so fantastic that even great painters wondered if she ...... without any help. A. Had painted B. Was painted C. have painted D. Would paint I think the answer is "had painted" because the first sentence is simple past. But I guess another correct option is " have painted". What is the correct answer and why?
  • I have edited my question as you asked me and hope you could help me with this.
    – Ata
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 19:47
  • You could follow question #1 with a separate sentence where the mismatch is hard to notice. But it only makes sense to set a tag question as matching the core verb (here, "are") with its negation. Simplified, if I say people are ready, you may agree they are ready or not. With a tag, I am asking if you agree by suggesting that you should not disagree. Aren't I right? Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 19:57
  • Who posed these questions? And why do you have to answer them? Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 20:27
  • it is a university entrance test example, And I'm not sure if it is for general English or advanced one. A student of mine asked me what the answers are and actually I wasn't sure about the answers.
    – Ata
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 21:24

1 Answer 1


In 1) both "isn't it?" and "don't they?" could be tag questions, due to the rather unusual structure of the sentence. The sentence is talking about people, but it asserts itself with the phrase "It is a fact...". So you could use "isn't it" following the surface grammatical structure of the sentence, or "don't they" on the deeper meaning of the sentence.

in 2) "Had painted" is the natural tense to use. The narrative is past tense and so we will use a past tense (not have). The other words would be grammatically correct, but not convey the (assumed) meaning (that the paint was applied to the canvas and not the girl and that the paint was applied before the painting was viewed). Note that these assumptions depend on our understanding of the nature of paint, not rules of the Enlish language.

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