From the test.

No-one understood that word, …

(a)  does he?
(b)  did you?
(c)  didn't they?
(d)  did they?

Would “Did any?” work?


Strangely, I see two possible answers: (b) and (d), meaning ‘not a single person’ can refer to two groups of people—either one immediately in front of you (‘you’) or them, respectively.

I think ‘Did any?’ doesn’t work there. For it to be a tag, the first part of the sentence should be ‘any of you\them\us’ in the negative. Like, ‘Any of us… didn’t even dream of success at that time, did any?’

On further consideration, the answer could also be © making it sound rather hostile\scornful: ‘No-one understood that word, didn’t they? Just waste of time and money on that bunch of blockheads.’

My second part still stands.

Only d is possible.

Well, now I’ve dug a bit deeper, I agree d) is a classic/preferable answer:
“If the subject is nobody, somebody, everybody, no one, someone or everyone, we use “they” in the tag question.”

Still why not leave some room for c):
“Negative-negative tag questions usually sound rather hostile:
• So you don’t like my looks, don’t you? (British English)”
• We can also have a negative sentence with a negative question tag, but that is a lot of negativeness and it sounds aggressive:
• - Oh, I heard that you don’t like my house, don’t you? :arrow_lower_right:

Hostile or not, but they do exist…

Please additionally see to one more question below.

  1. No-one understood that word, did the ones?

If, eventually, “did the ones” were possible, would it be considered like looking down on the group that couldn’t understand the word?


I think you’re not free to ‘choose’ the tail in tag questions. Its choice is dependent on and determined by the first part of the sentence.
‘No-one’ in the first part, nudges you in the direction of ‘they’ in the tag question, as you could see above. Simple.

No one understood that word, did they? - correct

All the other tags yjay are suggested in this thread are illogical, and therefore incorrect.

I think in the post-truth world, we are entitled to an explanation, not just statement, aren’t we?