How To Ask & Answer “Do You Mind”

Michael Grammar 1 Comment

A lot of English learners tell me that they have trouble with the question, “Do you mind….” It’s a bit of a complicated question to ask and answer, partly because of the meaning of the word mind. As a verb, mind means to be bothered or to be upset by something. Look at this sentence:

  • I mind people smoking in a restaurant.

It means, I am bothered by or upset by people smoking in a restaurant. For today’s English lesson, I am going to show you the two ways we use Do you mind…, a very common question in English conversation.

Asking someone to do something for you
First of all, you can use Do you mind + VerbING (gerund) when you want to ask someone to do something for you. In this case, Do you mind means Do you have any problem… (or) Does it bother you to…

  • Do you mind closing the window?
  • Do you mind helping me with my homework?
  • Do you mind smoking somewhere else?

Asking permission
On the other hand, when you want to do the action, or you want a third person to do the action, you can do it this way:

  • Do you mind me closing the window?
  • Do you mind Jack helping me with my homework?
  • Do you mind us leaving the party early tonight.

You can also use Do you mind if + sentence.

  • Do you mind if I sit here?
  • Do you mind if I close the window?
  • Do you mind if I smoke here?

Note that we generally do not say “Do you mind you…” or “Do you mind if you…” For example, these sentences are not natural:

  • Do you mind you smoking somewhere else?
  • Do you mind if you smoke somewhere else?

So how do you answer these questions? Remember that Do you mind means Do you have any problem, so how you answer depends on the situation.

Situation #1. Someone asks if they can sit at your table and you think it is not a problem. You are OK if they sit at the same table. You can answer like this:

  • Question: Do you mind if I sit here?
  • Answer: No, I don’t mind. Please have a seat. (or) No, I don’t mind. (or) No, go ahead.

In general, when someone asks Do you mind and you do not mind, the usual answer is “No, I don’t mind” or “No, go ahead.” Here are some more examples:

  • Question: Do you mind if I open the window?
  • Answer: No, not at all. Please do so.
  • Question: Do you mind if I turn on the TV?
  • Answer: No, go ahead.
  • Question: Do you mind if I leave work early today?
  • Answer: No, not at all.

Situation #2. Someone asks if they can sit at your table, but you think it is a problem. You are not OK if they sit at the same table. You can answer like this:

  • Question: Do you mind if I sit here?
  • Answer: I’m sorry, this seat is taken. (or) I’m sorry, I’m waiting for someone.

So, when someone asks Do you mind and you do mind, the usual answer is “I’m sorry, but…” and then say the reason why it is a problem. Here are some more examples:

  • Question: Do you mind if I open the window?
  • Answer: I’m sorry. I feel cold, so please don’t
  • Question: Do you mind if I turn on the TV?
  • Answer: I’m sorry. I’m studying right now.
  • Question: Do you mind if I leave work early today?
  • Answer: I’m sorry. We’re too busy today.

By the way, we can say, “Do you mind?” with upward intonation to show someone that they are annoying or bothering us. In this way, “Do you mind?” means, “You are annoying me” or “I want you to leave me alone.”

If you know anyone who might be interested in this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!


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  1. Pingback: Mind | Lauren's ESL Blog

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