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    #11

    Re: Would you mind if I opened the window?

    Pure prescriptivist grammar will lead to artificial claims that are hard to maintain in light of the facts. While prescriptivists would prefer the use of the past subjunctive after if (If I were you, etc), it is very difficult to claim that everyone who uses was is wrong, especially as they are the majority in spoken language.

  1. engee30's Avatar
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    #12

    Cool Re: Would you mind if I opened the window?

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    Being a prescriptivist suggests having absolute authority in the English language to me, eng. No offence, but who are you? A prescriptivist.
    Okay, I rephrase my answer and say, both are commonly used by educated people.
    My thoughts and feelings on English grammar are mostly based on what I find in the world-renowned reference books by Cambridge, Oxford, Macmillan and Longman. I haven't found any reference that would suggest using the past tense form of the verb with the pattern do you mind if, or the present tense form with would you mind if. That's a wrap.


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    #13

    Re: Would you mind if I opened the window?

    And I have not find any contemporary grammar books that prescribe the indicate mood should be avoided in the if clause. Who grants authority to prescribe usage in the English language? Or do people assume the position of control for themselves? I tend to go with usage statistics.


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    #14

    Re: Would you mind if I opened the window?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    These links seem to prove one thing ... accepted by some,
    CalifJim and Casi are no just some, in my opinion. They are highly respected and trusted contributors in EF and UE, respectively.

  2. engee30's Avatar
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    #15

    Cool Re: Would you mind if I opened the window?

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    And I have not find any contemporary grammar books that prescribe the indicate mood should be avoided in the if clause. Who grants authority to prescribe usage in the English language? Or do people assume the position of control for themselves? I tend to go with usage statistics.
    Those seeking a good piece of advice come to this forum in the hope of finding such. I assume that they're needing advice mainly dealing with the language that is taught at schools rather than the so-called street language, which, to me, is more than less inappropriate in academic usage.

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    #16

    Re: Would you mind if I opened the window?

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    And I have not find any contemporary grammar books that prescribe the indicate mood should be avoided in the if clause. Who grants authority to prescribe usage in the English language? Or do people assume the position of control for themselves? I tend to go with usage statistics.
    Is this a recent change, svartnik? I haven't done an analysis of your posts, but I thought you were a rather strict adherent to 'proper grammar'. When did you become a descriptionist?
    engee is right about learners' needs though. If they ask, then "Would you mind if I opened the window" is the more correct form when you factor in both grammar and usage.

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    #17

    Re: Would you mind if I opened the window?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snappy View Post
    "Would you mind if I opened the window?" is found for the usage of the word "mind" in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. The dictionary explains that it is spoken and used when making a polite request.

    In the same dictionary, "Would you mind if I open a window?" is also found for the usage of the word "mind."
    Are these both acceptable and the same in meaning?
    "Would you mind if I opened the window?"
    "Would you mind if I open the window?"
    I couldn't find the second example "open the window" in LDCE either, but, then again, I have their online version only.

    In answer to your question, yes, both "open the window" and "opened the window" are acceptable English.

    The Standard (i.e., formal language, including spoken and written English) houses a present tense verb. The reason being, a polite request is asked before the act takes place, so a present tense verb is used:

    • Would you mind if I open the window?



    The spoken-form houses a past tense verb. The reason, analogy: elsewhere in the grammar there is a similar structure, would + if + past tense (See type 2 conditionals):

    • Would you mind if I opened the window?



    From a semantic standpoint, there isn't a difference in meaning between would you mind if I open the window and would you mind if I opened the window. Unless, that is, you want to be pedantic about it:
    Sam: Would you mind if I opened the window?
    Pat: Why are you asking me after the fact? You've already opened the window, right?
    The difference, if there actually is one, is subscription: prescription (what you are told you should say) and description (what you actually say). Who is right? Everyone.

    From an academic standpoint, use formal language in writing and on formal occasions (e.g., in an exam) and use English elsewhere.


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    Posted by svartnik
    CalifJim and Casi are no just some, in my opinion. They are highly respected and trusted contributors in EF and UE, respectively.
    FYI: I am Casiopea.

  5. engee30's Avatar
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    #18

    Question Re: Would you mind if I opened the window?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    I couldn't find the second example "open the window" in LDCE either, but, then again, I have their online version only.
    Why ever did you try to find the example?


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    #19

    Re: Would you mind if I opened the window?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    FYI: I am Casiopea.
    :

    Last edited by svartnik; 29-Jul-2009 at 15:46.


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    #20

    Re: Would you mind if I opened the window?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    When did you become a descriptionist?
    After dinner, yesterday.

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