WOULD YOU MIND and DO YOU MIND

Both the phrases ‘would you mind’ and do you mind’ are used to make a polite request or take someone’s permission.

The verb ‘mind’ means ‘to be troubled or annoyed’.

Both phrases can be used interchangeably with no or a little difference in meaning in three different situations.

1. To take someone’s permission

When you want to do something and check if that bothers or creates a problem for a person, we use both expressions.

  • Would you mind if I sat here?

You basically want to sit next to a person, but you want to check if sitting there causes the person a problem.

Meaning: Is it okay with you if I sit here? Is it a problem with you?

NOTE: With this structure, we generally use the verb in the past form as the entire sentence is a second conditional sentence. ‘Would‘ in ‘would you mind’ refers to an uncertain situation. The verb can be used in the base form (V1) too. In the base form, it refers to a real or likely event.

  • Would you mind if I sit you?

Some grammarians consider this incorrect as we use the verb in the past form in the second conditional sentence. But here, ‘would you mind’ is a fixed expression and people use both phrases with no difference in meaning. That said, you, still, should use the verb in the past form here.

Examples:

  • Would you mind if I went out with your girlfriend tonight?
  • Would you mind if I use your cell for a minute?
  • Would you mind if we sit here for a few minutes?
  • Would you mind if I called you in an hour?
  • Would you mind if I brought my friends to the party?
  • Would your parents mind if we organised a party at your place tonight?

The expression ‘do you mind’ can be used in these examples. It slightly changes the meaning of the sentence though.

Here are two things that make a difference:

  1. ‘Do you mind’ is less formal in comparison to ‘would you mind’. Therefore, people often use the latter.
  2. ‘Would’ refers to uncertainty in conditional sentences, and ‘ do you mind’ is comparatively more certain.

Examples:

  • Do you mind If I sit here?
  • Do you mind if I sleep in your room?
  • Do you mind if I go out with your sister?
  • Do you mind if we celebrate his birthday here?

The verb can be and is often used in the past tense too. In the past tense, it shows uncertainty.

  • Do you mind If I sat here?
  • Do you mind if I slept in your room?
  • Do you mind if I went out with your sister?

How to answer the questions starting with ‘would you mind’?

If you don’t have a problem with the request made to you, here’s how you can answer the questions:

  • Absolutely not.
  • Not at all.
  • No, please …
  • No, you can …

Question: Would you mind If I sit here?

Answers (the person does not have a problem):

  • No, please have a seat.
  • Absolutely not.
  • Not at all.
  • No, you can sit here.

If you do have a problem with the request made to you, here’s how you can respond:

  • I am afraid you can’t.
  • Yes, I would.

Question: Would you mind If I sit here?

Answers (the person does have a problem)

  • I am afraid you can’t. Someone is sitting here already.
  • Yes, I would. Please sit somwhere else.

2. To request a person to perform an action for you. It’s basically a polite request.

Structure

Would you mind + gerund phrase?
Do you mind + gerund phrase?

  • Would you mind passing that bottle?

There is a bottle next to the person, and you are requesting the person to pass the bottle to you in a polite way.

Examples:

  • Would you mind sharing your food with us?
  • Would you mind shifting a bit?
  • Would you mind clicking a picture of us?
  • Would you mind showing your project?
  • Would you mind holding my bag for a minute?

Here, we can replace ‘would you mind’ with ‘do you mind’ with no difference in meaning. Though, it is important to note that ‘would you mind’ is more formal and polite. Both expressions, here, have nothing to do with uncertainty.

  • Do you mind opening the door?
  • Do you mind picking up Riya in the evening?
  • Do you mind changing seats?
  • Do you mind smoking somewhere else? 
  • Do you mind helping me with this project?

3. To order someone to do something or ask a question (often angrily).

Student: I don’t understand this (in a muffled voice).
Teacher: Would you mind standing up and repeating yourself?

The teacher orders the student to stand up and repeat themselves.

Examples:

  • Would you mind telling us why you’re late?
  • Do you mind leaving the class right now?
  • Would you mind stop sticking your nose in my business?

This is a polite way to show your anger at someone and demand the person to do or stop doing something. Note that you must have the authority to speak this way with someone. Else, the person may get offended.

A video lesson on the uses of ‘WOULD’
A detailed post on the uses of ‘WOULD’

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