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    #1

    Would you mind if...? How do I answer?

    In what situation is it correct to answer a question started with "Would you mind if...?" with "Yes, certainly".

  1. kfredson's Avatar

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    #2

    Re: Would you mind if...? How do I answer?

    Quote Originally Posted by ElisabethS View Post
    In what situation is it correct to answer a question started with "Would you mind if...?" with "Yes, certainly".
    Generally you can respond to a polite request either with "Yes, certainly" or "No, not at all." Logically only the latter makes sense, but no one would notice.

    "Would you mind if I cleared your plate from the table?" "No, not at all."
    -- This would make more sense.

    But if you were smiling agreeably and clearly giving your assent, you could get away with "Yes, certainly." (There might be situations where your answer would cause confusion, however.)

    [Or, as my Swedish grandmother would have said, "Tack ska du ha."]

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    #3

    Re: Would you mind if...? How do I answer?

    If I were to ask someone "would you mind if................ and it was answered "Yes, certainly" I would assume that they would mind and did not want me to do it. I would expect the answer to be something like "No, I don't mind at all, go ahead"

    This caused a problem with my mother-in-law years ago. Not big, but it bugged me. If I asked her if she would like some more coffee or whatever, she repied in "Danke" or thank you. To me, that means, yes, I would like some. Apparently in Germany it means the opposite. Or only to her.

    So, I got into the habit of saying Danke yes or Danke no?????

    I am not a teacher.


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    #4

    Re: Would you mind if...? How do I answer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Searching for language View Post
    If I were to ask someone "would you mind if................ and it was answered "Yes, certainly" I would assume that they would mind and did not want me to do it. I would expect the answer to be something like "No, I don't mind at all, go ahead"
    Thank you. That's what I thought
    //Elisabeth

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Would you mind if...? How do I answer?

    ...Or even 'No, not at all, go ahead'. That is, in general, echo the negative (no verb necessary) and follow it with a positive invitation. But as Kfredson said context can often make an (illogical) positive acceptable; but if there's any risk of a misunderstanding, avoid it.

    b

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    #6

    Re: Would you mind if...? How do I answer?

    Which is better and why:

    Do you mind..... ?

    or

    Would you mind.... ?


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    #7

    Re: Would you mind if...? How do I answer?

    Quote Originally Posted by kfredson View Post
    Generally you can respond to a polite request either with "Yes, certainly" or "No, not at all." Logically only the latter makes sense, but no one would notice.

    "Would you mind if I cleared your plate from the table?" "No, not at all."
    -- This would make more sense.

    But if you were smiling agreeably and clearly giving your assent, you could get away with "Yes, certainly." (There might be situations where your answer would cause confusion, however.)

    [Or, as my Swedish grandmother would have said, "Tack ska du ha."]
    The response "Yes, certainly", indicates that you would mind, and emphatically so. Hence the response should be used only when you do mind. If you have no objection, the correct response would be "No, I don't mind", or "No, please be my guest"!


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    #8

    Re: Would you mind if...? How do I answer?

    Questions of the type would you mind if? are called rhetorical, in that they do not expect a reply. The person is asking permission to indicate politeness, but saying you would mind will cause offence. E.g. Would you mind if I opened the window? a polite response is always not at all. Questions like "Are you listening?" are rhetorical and should not be answered
    Last edited by fountofwisdom; 22-Feb-2010 at 09:13. Reason: Incomplete

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Would you mind if...? How do I answer?

    Quote Originally Posted by tedtmc View Post
    Which is better and why:

    Do you mind..... ?

    or

    Would you mind.... ?
    It's not a question of which is better, but of which is more appropriate, and that will depend on the context.

    'Would you...?' expresses more conditionality. It says 'I would like to do this thing, but I want to know if you would mind [and to what extent] if I did.' Example 'Would you mind if I opened the window?' 'Well OK, but only a crack.'. There has recently arisen the belief that 'would you...?' is by its nature more polite, and that conditionality doesn't come into it. If you subscribe to this view, you may say 'Would you mind if I open...?' (that is, use the present tense). I dislike this, but it happens.

    On the other hand 'Do you mind...?' means 'I've made up my mind to do this thing. Whether I do it is not negotiable. But, for form's sake, I'm asking first.' For example, a smoker might put a cigarette in his mouth and light his lighter, then raise his eyebrow and say 'Do you mind?' - almost as an afterthought. There's no need to add 'if I smoke', because it's obvious from his actions. His companion may say 'Well actually I do', but by that time the cigarette is already lit. The smoker may then say something like 'Well OK, I'll sit over here by the window'; he's unlikely to stub the cigarette out.

    There's another - unrelated - use of 'Do you mind?', to express a strong objection: 'Do you mind? That seat is taken.'

    b

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