I have many native English friends I talk with and I have noticed one thing among them: they use question tags (not quite question tag but more of a rhetorical question) in a different way. For example, they will use "she does?" instead of does she? when you tell them something like "she likes apples". So the conversation can be illustrated as:

You: She likes apples
Addressee (native English): she does?

Another example:

A: she has told me the truth.
B: she has?

Surprisingly, I recently watched "Sherlock Holmes" and came across such kind of questions a lot, particularly in "A scandal in Belgravia".

My question is: is this common among native English speakers to use questions like that? How often do you use them in real life? Is it considered a rhetorical question?

1 Answer 1


Yes, that's very common. A similar effect can be had using words like, "Really?" and "Seriously?"

It can be rhetorical, but doesn't have be. In fact, perhaps the most common use is to express mild surprise, thereby inviting the other person to elaborate. Facial expression and tone of voice can help decide wnat the precise meaning is, as well as any additional words the person asking may add. For example:

You: She likes apples.

Me: [surprised] She does? But she told me she hates all fruit.

But as I say, it is possible to use it rhetorically:

You: She likes me.

Me: [grinning] She does? Yeah, well you keep telling yourself that sunshine.

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