How would you ask a friend to help you? There are a few questions you can make, such as Can you help me with…? Or Can you do….for me? Both of them are good options, but there is one phrase you should definitely add to your dictionary and use whenever you need to ask something politely in English. I’m talking about the expressions using the word mind. It is also important to know how to answer questions that start with these expressions. Keep reading for examples and dialogues!
What does mind mean?
I have found that some people struggle with the expression Do you mind? because of the word mind. And that’s because this word is both a noun and a verb. As a noun, it refers to the part of a person that makes it possible for him or her to think, feel emotions, and understand things. As a verb, it has different meanings. Let’s go over each one of them:
You can use this word in the expressions Do you mind? and Would you mind? as a polite way of asking permission or asking someone to do something. That’s what we will cover more in-depth today, so keep reading for more information on this.
This verb is also used to say that someone is not annoyed or bothered by something. For instance, you can say: I don’t mind being alone. This means that you are okay with being by yourself, it doesn’t bother you.
It can be used to say that someone doesn’t have a strong preference for any particular thing. It’s similar to saying Either option is good. Here is one example: I don’t mind what we watch, really. Let’s just watch something! By the way, if you want to learn more about either, read this blog post here.
Another meaning of this verb is to warn people to be careful not to hurt themselves or damage something. In London, it is common to see the phrase “Mind the gap” in the subway stations. It is there to warn passengers about the gap between the train door and the station platform. The last use of the verb is to say that someone is looking after someone or something. For instance, one could say: Kelly will mind the shop while I’m away.
Would or Do?
Now, let’s understand the difference between the two possible questions one can make.
The difference is simple, actually. Do you mind? is more informal and direct, while Would you mind? is more polite. Also, we tend to use do when we expect the other person to say yes since we are normally asking for a minor favor. Would, on the other hand, is used when we want a bigger favor.
In summary, the big difference between the two options is how polite you want to be.
How to ask and answer questions with these expressions
In this section, we’ll review how to politely ask and answer questions with these expressions that use the word mind. These phrases are really great when you want to make a good impression on someone. So, let’s go over the structure for both the questions and the answers involving these expressions.
Asking for something politely
When asking questions with either Do you mind? or Would you mind?, here is the structure you need to follow:
Do you mind + (optional object) + verb + ing = asking someone to do something for you
Here are some examples:
- Would you mind stopping for gas on your way back?
- Do you mind Liam coming to dinner tonight?
Do you mind + if + subject + verb = asking permission
Take a look at some examples:
- Do you mind if I cook pasta tonight?
- Would you mind if my sister spends the night here?
When we are okay with what we are presented with, we usually answer these questions with:
- No, I don’t mind.
- Go ahead.
- Not at all.
For instance, take a look at this dialogue:
Hey, do you mind taking the bus to school today?
No, not at all.
If we have a problem with what was asked, we can say:
- I’m sorry, but…
Now, let’s suppose you can’t take the bus today. You could say:
Hey, do you mind taking the bus to school today?
I’m sorry, but today I can’t. I need to take the model I made for my geography class.
Oh, okay. Let’s go then.
Listening exercise: do you mind?
Listen to the dialogue below. If you listen to the audio twice and still have problems understanding the conversation, take a look at the transcript below, okay?
A Polite Conversation
Olivia: Hi, Tim. Come on in, I’m so glad you could make it.
Tim: Hi, Olivia!
Olivia: Welcome to my new house.
Tim: Wow! This looks great, Olivia!
Olivia: Thank you. There is still some work to do, but I’m pleased with how it turned out.
Tim: Yeah, it’s awesome. Do you mind if I look around?
Olivia: No, not at all. Make yourself at home. I’ll go answer the door, I believe Mike and Sarah have just arrived.
[a few minutes later]
Tim: Ladies, sorry to interrupt. Olivia, do you mind if I use the upstairs bathroom? I think Mike is in the one downstairs.
Olivia: Sorry, but there is a leaking in that one. If you don’t mind, you can use the one in the basement.
Tim: Sure, I don’t mind.
So, would you mind telling us in the comment section your thoughts about this blog post? We truly hope you understood the difference between the two expressions we use to ask for things politely, as well as the rules for forming questions with them. Happy studying!