In tag question, we can use ‘right?’ to replace ‘isn’t it?’ or ‘don’t they?’, or the like (without changing the idea), can’t we?
And what I wonder is if the use of ‘right?’ instead of other normal ways of tag questions make it sound more informal and sometimes not very polite.
Tag questions can be used for a variety of reasons. One of the most common uses of a tag question is to elicit confirmation of or agreement with what has just been said. For that sort of tag, you can use “right” instead. Replacing a negative tag with “right” might be a bit more common than replacing a positive tag with “right”.
I would say that “right” would tend to sound more informal, but not necessarily impolite.
In BrE, the tag “right?” tends to be favoured by the slightly less sophisticated user. If the speaker is asking you to settle a genuine doubt, it isn’t necessarily impolite; but elsewhere, it can sound a little “cocky”.
(The “impoliteness” probably resides in the implication that the addressee will agree with the speaker.)
Imagine that! I could swear you said you were a Nigerian woman living in Spain and also a non-native speaker of English. Personally, I don’t believe a word you’ve said here. Sorry, but I’d prefer to wait for information from a native speaker of British English.
MrP unwilling to back up his rather poorly thought out statement here:
Two friends, on the way to a Sunday league football match:
Dim: We’re going to trash 'em today, right?
Sum: I find your statement and question rather impolite. Why do you assume I will agree with you?
It’s not the “, right?” that is “wrong”, but some of the contexts it’s found in. “Context” there includes the relationship between the speakers.
As a, self-appointed, more sophisticated user, MrP wants to tell us that he doesn’t like people using the question tag “right” around him.
Just look at how many less unsophisticated Brits there are:
The search [color=blue], right ? = 524 per 1 million words.
The search [color=blue], does n’t [pn*] ? = 310 per 1 million words.
The search [color=blue] , did n’t [pn*] ? = 661 per 1 million words
The search [color=blue] , was n’t [pn*] ? = 395 per 1 million words
The search [color=blue] , do n’t you ? = 581 per 1 million words
Mind, tops is [color=blue], IS N’T IT ? with a score of 1306 per 1 million words. Now, if MrP is right on “right”, I’m sure that we cannot find many examples where, when using “isn’t it?”, ‘The “impoliteness” probably resides in the implication that the addressee will agree with the speaker.’, right?
So what is MrP telling us? He seems to be telling us that one of the functions of the tag “right?” is to ask “Am I right?”, i.e. to allow the speaker to ask the listener to agree with him/her. Is that news to anyone? Many questions tags have the same function, especially when used with falling intonation.
I agree, but the telling them the opposite can also be misleading. Unqualified advice is often incorrect advice. One should instead look at real examples in use. There are many situations where that tag is not used or read impolitely.
No confusion at all. See my BNC post above, and take note that I said this “Many questions tags have the same function, especially when used with falling intonation.”
It is possible that you’ve taken the prescritivists’ folk-view on politeness here. That view is often expressed in blanket-covering terms about language use and manners.