..., да?

..., так?

..., не так ли?

..., а?

I've so far come across these four words functioning as a tag question, and I wonder how they differ in meaning and usage? In most languages, there are several different words for forming a tag question, each having a flavour of its own.

..., верно?

  • 1
    another one would be что ли, very colloquial and expressive Jan 30 '18 at 7:38

..., да? — "right?" ("is it true?")

..., так? — "right?" ("did I understand you correctly?")

The difference is that да? seeks to confirm some prior knowledge, guess, or suspicion, while так? generally double-checks the speaker's comprehension.

..., не так ли? — generic "doesn't it?" (and other forms)

..., а? — not quite sure it belongs with the others. You can add it to requests to signify insistence/pleading (ну пойдём, а?), to things that are formally questions, signifying either impressiveness (как мы их обогнали-то, а?) or frustration (что за чертовщина, а?), and to actual questions, signifying impatience (вы вообще инструкцию читали, а?) — but it doesn't work as something you can tag on to a statement to turn it into a question.

I'd add another one:

..., правда? — the sort of "doesn't it?" that prompts to agree with the speaker on some point expressed in or related to the statement.

  • 1
    Hi. Regarding "а", I have seen it following the rhetorical question: "Тогда почему ...? А?". Jan 30 '18 at 5:05
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    @alone-Zee Oh, that one. It's the sort of "huh?" you can add to something that's already a question (rather than turn it into a question by adding it), so, again, not quite a proper "tag". EDIT: then again, so are both my examples. I'll edit now. Jan 30 '18 at 5:09
  • So "..., так?" corresponds to "..., is that it?" in English, I take it? Jan 30 '18 at 8:05

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