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I asked the following question this morning: Alternative ways of saying "...., right?"

But my new query is:

What’s the good tag question here in the following conversation apart from “…, right?”:

A (says): “Hey, buddy (harshly). Why do always keep the lights on in this room after you leave?”

B (says): “I always switch off the lights when I leave the room, (…?)”
( saying “Don’t I?” will look odd I guess. So any good question tags to be used here?)

(If the other person is in a bickering mood, saying “…, right?” will not seem strong I guess, because he wants to deal with the other person harshly)

NB: I didn't ask this question in the comments section of the previous question because I had to show some context in it to make it more clear. Therefore kindly don't mark it as duplicate.

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    A question tag asks for confirmation. Why would this person ask with a question tag when the other one obviously has a different opinion? "I don't. I always switch them off." sounds like a better response. – fluffy Aug 1 '14 at 13:40
  • Why do you think don't I? will look odd? Only because they are bickering? – Esoteric Screen Name Aug 1 '14 at 13:41
  • @EsotericScreenName Because I think if the other person is bickering then I want to make my question tag strong and kind of harsh. Don't you think? How would you say it? – user6200 Aug 1 '14 at 13:45
  • Short and harsh - I never do that, you dumbo! :) – Maulik V Aug 2 '14 at 5:15
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In and of itself, there's nothing wrong with don't I? as a question tag. Alternatives:

  • When have I not?
  • What do you mean?

As fluffy notes, you specify an argumentative context so these responses don't carry much force of conviction in that case, and a declarative response may well be more natural or appropriate. Adding a good amount of sarcastic emphasis can maintain the right tone (implying the other party is ignoring the obvious). This will make the question a rhetorical one; even so, it will still invite a non-rhetorical answer if the parties are bickering.

You could also use markers like these:

  • What are you talking about?
  • Don't you pay attention?
  • Are you blind?
  • What are you smoking? (Colloquial; implies the use of perception altering and generally illegal drugs)

All of these are at least marginally rude, depending on intonation, but then quarrelling is rarely polite in my experience, and that's what you're asking for.

Another possibility is a non-verbal marker: a raised eyebrow, closed body language (e.g. crossed arms) and a sceptical expression. Don't use any rising inflection at the end of the sentence, because that will drain away the appropriate emotion and make it a simple question. A dry tone will enhance the message.

As an aside, offset all of the bulleted markers from I always switch off the lights when I leave the room with a semicolon rather than a comma when writing, since they're capable of standing alone as complete sentences.

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Proper English:

“I always switch off the lights when I leave the room, do I not?”

Still Correct English :

“I always switch off the lights when I leave the room, don't I?”

However, to be honest, a question tag doesn't fit into context, since A has already somewhat accused B of keeping the lights on. Better still:

“I always switch off the lights when I leave the room, okay?”

or

“I always switch off the lights when I leave the room, you <insert harsh adjective> <insert curse word>!”
  • It's worth mentioning that ", do I not?" is much rarer than the contracted version. – snailboat Aug 1 '14 at 18:16

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