What will be the tag question of the following sentence?

Germany is a beautiful country, isn't {she/he}?

Shouldn't we use the pronoun "she" as country is always considered as motherland? But one of my friend told me that we have to use "he" for Germany only as this country is considered as fatherland.


1 Answer 1


We usually use it for countries.

Germany is a beautiful country, isn't it?

The pronoun you use is exactly the same pronoun as you'd use for referring to Germany (or any other country) anywhere else - it isn't specific to question tags, nor to Germany.

In some (mainly older) books, she is used for countries, e.g. "61 percent of those polled still felt America wanted to save West Germany and her Western European neighbors from communism" (Dewey Browder, Americans in Post-WWII Germany, 1998). This is a literary usage and may be seen as old-fashioned.

We would never use he.

  • 1
    Using the feminine pronouns for countries is old fashioned but not necessarily wrong. Would you agree though that using the masculine would mark the writer as a non-native English speaker?
    – ColleenV
    Mar 26, 2021 at 13:01
  • 2
    @ColleenV I agree with all of that, so I've revised my answer slightly.
    – rjpond
    Mar 26, 2021 at 13:09

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