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    #1

    would you mind if

    Will someone explain to me why with 'do you mind if I open the window?', the verb 'open' is in the present tense, but with 'would you mind if I opened the window?', the verb 'open' is now in the past tense. Is it because the second question is actually conditional?

  1. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #2

    Re: would you mind if

    That's right. It's a conditional type 2 sentence,

    EX: Would you mind if I opened the window?
    EX: Would you mind if I drove?
    EX: Would you mind if they ate the rest of the cake?

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    #3

    Re: would you mind if

    Will native speakers say "Would you mind if I open the window."?
    Last edited by dihen; 02-Sep-2006 at 16:38.


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    #4

    Re: would you mind if

    Quote Originally Posted by Hophop View Post
    Will someone explain to me why with 'do you mind if I open the window?', the verb 'open' is in the present tense, but with 'would you mind if I opened the window?', the verb 'open' is now in the past tense. Is it because the second question is actually conditional?
    The reason for this is that a past tense FORM verb is often used to effect greater deference, a softer inquiry, more politeness. Since 'do' is a much more direct question, a present tense FORM berb is used..

    With 'would' a past tense FORM is often used because it matches would's greater deference/politeness, but it isn't an absolute necessity; present tense form verbs can also be used.

    Would you mind if I smoke?

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #5

    Re: would you mind if

    That would be the indicative. Like this, right? Would you mind if she plays with his toys? Tense switching, from 'played', a remnant of the present subjunctive, to 'plays', the present indicative, is quite common among some speakers today. Is it prescribed? Uhm, well, no. At least not yet. But that change is notable,

    EX: If I were Bill, I would ... ." <subjunctive>
    EX: If I was Bill, I would ... . " <indicative>


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    #6

    Re: would you mind if

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    That would be the indicative. Like this, right? Would you mind if she plays with his toys? Tense switching, from 'played', a remnant of the present subjunctive, to 'plays', the present indicative, is quite common among some speakers today. Is it prescribed? Uhm, well, no. At least not yet. But that change is notable,
    EX: If I were Bill, I would ... ." <subjunctive>
    EX: If I was Bill, I would ... . " <indicative>
    AHHH Get thee gone, Satan .


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    #7

    Re: would you mind if

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    That would be the indicative. Like this, right? Would you mind if she plays with his toys? Tense switching, from 'played', a remnant of the present subjunctive,

    Are regular past tense verbs, like 'played', "remnants of the present subjunctive", Casiopea?

    to 'plays', the present indicative, is quite common among some speakers today. Is it prescribed? Uhm, well, no. At least not yet. But that change is notable,

    What does "Is it prescribed?" mean, Casiopea?

    EX: If I were Bill, I would ... ." <subjunctive>
    EX: If I was Bill, I would ... . " <indicative>
    c

  3. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #8

    Re: would you mind if

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid
    Are regular past tense verbs, like played, remnants of the subjunctive?
    Well, if it's a 'regular past tense verb' then it couldn't be a remnant of the subjunctive mood. Note that, the phrase Would you mind doesn't refer to the past.

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid
    What does "Is it prescribed?" mean?
    prescribe, vb. recommend.

    Hope that helps.


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    #9

    Re: would you mind if

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    That would be the indicative. Like this, right? Would you mind if she plays with his toys? Tense switching, from 'played', a remnant of the present subjunctive, to 'plays', the present indicative, is quite common among some speakers today. Is it prescribed? Uhm, well, no. At least not yet. But that change is notable,
    EX: If I were Bill, I would ... ." <subjunctive>
    EX: If I was Bill, I would ... . " <indicative>

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    Well, if it's a 'regular past tense verb' then it couldn't be a remnant of the subjunctive mood.

    I'm still confused, Casiopea. What you've stated above doesn't seem to square with what you stated in your posting previous to this one; I've underlined it and put it in red.

    Note that, the phrase Would you mind doesn't refer to the past.

    You're absolutely right. Would you mind has nothing to do with past tense or time so using a present tense FORM verb has nothing to do with tense or time. There are pragmatic considerations involved.

    prescribe, vb. recommend.

    That sounds like a sneaky way of saying 'prescription', Casiopea. And as we all know, prescriptions are poor poor ways of describing how language works.

    There's no reason to give inaccurate descriptions when it's so easy to give accurate ones. What we may or may not use in a more formal [often writing] situation is not dependent upon prescriptivists' opinions.

    q

  4. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #10

    Re: would you mind if

    In Would you mind if she played with his toys, the verb 'played' isn't a 'regular past time verb'. It's a remnant of the present subjunctive. Note, Would you mind if I were to ...

    In Would you mind if she plays with his toys, 'plays' is indicative and it's a modern variant of were to play; i.e., Would you mind if she were to play with his toys - subjunctive.

    In I played tennis, yesterday, the verb 'played' is in the regular past tense.

    'played' (past tense) and 'played' (subjunctive mood) look and sound alike, but they are different.

    I'm not sure I understand your meaning here, 'There are pragmatic considerations involved'. Could you expound on that?

    All the best.

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