Post by Tony Cooper Post by bill van Post by Quinn C
In an old episode of Midsomer Murders, a number of people were
answering to questions from the police, like "and what did you do
after that?" in the form "I went home, didn't I?"
There was no one around who could confirm or deny the statement.
It could be that the person directed it at themself, but from the
"... obviously, or what do you think I'd do at that hour?"
Does that make sense?
It does, but I think you have to couple it with people in the fictional
Midsomer County and how they talk there. Some of our British posters can
likely shed light. I'm not sure whether it's part of a regional dialect
in real life, or a conceit that's more meaningful to Britons than it is
to me. I think I have heard the expression in other programs, but can't
recall which ones.
The same or and similar usages appear in British TV shows and
Brit-written fiction, so I don't see anything unusual about it. In
this group, we see "innit" quite frequently, and that's "isn't it?"
and very similar.
That type of rhetorical question ending to a sentence is also present
in AmE: "That was an expensive dinner, wasn't it?" "That's a nice
car, wouldn't you say?"
Sure, but that wasn't exactly my question. All your examples are
situations where other people might have knowledge or an opinion
on the matter, which they may or may not be expected to give as a
I was asking about the use in a situation where the others present
objectively can't be expected to have knowledge, and can't be
expected to answer even if they have a hypothesis.
CDB's answer seems like a good fit for my intuition: the tag
question expresses that the other ought to know the answer, in
this case, based on common sense.
There are two ways of constructing a software design. One way is
to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies.
And the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no
obvious deficiencies. The first method is far more difficult.
-- C. A. R. Hoare