4

Man is mortal.

How to make its tag question?
Explain it with reasons please.

Are these correct?

Man is mortal. Aren't they? Isn't it? Isn't he?

2 Answers 2

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Albert Camus once wrote:

Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.

So what you are looking for is, "Man is mortal. Isn't he?" Although most people would probably punctuate it, "Man is mortal, isn't he?"

The one catch about this phrasing is that it's not gender-neutral, and gender neutrality is becoming more popular. Partly because of its gender bias, this phrasing also sounds a little archaic. One more modern and progressive way to say this would be, "We are all mortal, aren't we?" In this case, it's understood that "we" refers to all humans. You could also write "Humans are all mortal, aren't they?" There's a little more emotional distance in that last phrasing.

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This is not any ordinary sentence rather an extraordinary one. So, here 'man' is not used as any individual one; it represents whole mankind.So,the pronoun of man here is they, not he. And the pronoun 'They' always takes auxiliary 'are'.

So tag of this exceptional type of sentence is: "aren't they"; not "isn't he".

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  • You are correct about the usage of man, however, as Todd points out in his answer, when using man to represent mankind we use the singular masculine pronoun He. You cannot say, Man refuses to be what he is, aren't they? - no. We can also use Men to represent mankind. When doing so we then use the plural They. Men are the only creatures who refuse to be what they are, aren't they?
    – EllieK
    Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 14:26

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