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I read somewhere that you can make tag questions by adding 是不是 to the end of the sentence. The example sentence was: 您是李老师,是不是?You are Teacher Li, aren't you?

But if the sentence doesn't have the verb 是in it, is it still correct to use 是不是 as a tag question? Example: 你认识我,是不是?

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But if the sentence doesn't have the verb 是in it, is it still correct to use 是不是 as a tag question? Example: 你认识我,是不是?

Yes, even if it is a nominal predicate sentence (without verb).
Example: 明天星期五,是不是?

Besides, 是不是 can be placed at the beginning of the sentence, at the end of the sentence or between the subject and the predicate. So the following examples are all correct:
Example 1: 是不是你认识我?
Example 2: 你是不是认识我?
Example 3: 你认识我是不是

The example sentence was: 您是李老师,是不是?

That is not wrong, but please note that in the case of a "是" sentence you can also say:
是不是李老师?

Generally speaking, "是不是" can be used to raise questions when the speaker wants to confirm what she already believes.

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  • Quote: "raise questions when the speaker wants to confirm what she already believes." -- it means the question is a rhetorical question. The speaker doesn't need an answer, he is making a statement, something like: "I am right, am I?" ; "It was you, isn't it?" "am I?" and "isn't it" are not real questions. They are there to stress the statements
    – Tang Ho
    Jul 10 at 19:49
  • @Tang Ho Do you mean to say that a 是不是 question is a rhetorical question? Jul 10 at 22:10
  • 你是不是李老师? is most likely a real question seeking an answer. But the question 你是李老师是不是? Could be either real or rhetorical depend on the context
    – Tang Ho
    Jul 11 at 0:11
  • Is there anything I need to fix or clarify in my answer? Jul 11 at 9:56
  • You can explain the difference between XXXX是不是, 是不是XXXX, and 是XXXX不是. Especially 是XXXX不是, it carries a confrontational tone, e.g. 你是男人不是 = Are you a man or not? 您是李老师不是 just isn't a good example to use 是XXXX不是
    – Tang Ho
    Jul 11 at 10:05
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You can say "You are James, aren't you?"

And you can also say "You know me, don't you?"

As "are", "know" are both verbs here.


And the same rule goes with Chinese syntax.

You can say "你是李老师,是不是?"

You can also say "你认识我,是不是?"


The only difference here is in Chinese, you can always use "是不是" as the rhetorical postfix, no matter what the real verb is in the main sentence.

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But if the sentence doesn't have the verb 是 in it, is it still correct to use 是不是 as a tag question? Example: 你认识我,是不是?

Yes, you don't need to have a 是 in a statement to add 是不是 at the end of it.

"是不是" literally means "yes or no? = is it true?" It is a request for confirmation, The answer could be 是 or 不是

It could also be a rhetorical question if you already know the answer is yes, (asking 是不是 is rhetorical, you don't need an answer, you are stressing your statement)

  • 您是個老师,是不是 = you are a teacher, is it true?/ you are a teacher, aren't you?

  • 您姓李,是不是 = your last name is Li, is it true? / your last name is Li, isn't it?

您是個老师 and 您姓李 without the added 是不是 (confirmation request or rhetorical question) would just be plain statements

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