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I never remember the appropriate use of either of nevermind and never mind. What's the difference and how can I remember?

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Thank you all for the very helpful answers. I am chagrined to realize that I have been using "nevermind" incorrectly all these years. –  user362 Feb 16 '11 at 14:11
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7 Answers

up vote 19 down vote accepted

The only time I can think of that "nevermind" is written as one word is when it's used as a noun in the colloquial idiom "Pay me no nevermind" (or "Don't pay me no nevermind"), which as you might theorize means "pay no attention to me."

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But "nevermind" in that expression is definitely dialectal. It's not in my dialect, and to me has a strongly American flavour. –  Colin Fine Feb 16 '11 at 11:11
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I agree with Colin Fine. The single word form is an American colloquialism that really just means "attention". Slang often has superfluous negations, as in the relatively common phrase it don't make no nevermind. –  FumbleFingers Mar 23 '11 at 16:30
    
@FumbleFingers The OED attests nevermind as a noun dating from 1924, which it labels as U.S. regional. Here’s its first sense: “A matter of interest or relevance; one's business or concern. Chiefly in negative contexts, as to make no nevermind: to make no difference, to be of no significance.” –  tchrist Mar 3 '12 at 2:10
    
Chiefly in negative contexts? I would have expected only in negative contexts. –  Peter Shor Mar 3 '12 at 15:46
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Nevermind is an album by Nirvana. "Never mind" means don't bother with something.

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As Robusto clearly pointed out, Nevermind is the name of a rock album written and performed by the late (and great, depending on who you ask) grunge rock band, Nirvana. However, the legacy of the term "Nevermind" doesn't end there.

Nevermind is also an album name written / recorded by a popular Philly (Philadelphia, PA) punk band named Clockcleaner. You can check it out at Amazon here. It is, unfortunately, out of stock. No doubt because the fan-base didn't warrant a huge number of units. I am sure the album can be found elsewhere.

Nevermind is also a video game produced by SCE Studio Liverpool. Back in "the day", the development company was named Psygnosis and it was a subsidiary of that development company, called Psyclapse, that originally wrote the game and released it in 1989. It is a 3D isometric arcade puzzle game, which actually got quite a following from Amiga-heads. The game was distributed on Amiga computers in the UK, much like Window's minesweeper. You can check out the game over at Retrogames.co.uk

Nevermind is also a song written by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It appeared on the album Freaky Styley which was released by EMI in 1985. Now, THAT, makes me feel really old.

Nevermind is also a song written / recorded by a band named Violet and it appeared on their album, The Birthday Massacre. The album was released through Metropolis records in 2004.

Nevermind is also the name of a children's book written by Edward Irving Wortis (who prefers to be called Avi...just Avi). The eccentric man has written quite a few different titles in quite a few different genres.

Nevermind is, yet another, song name written / recorded by the underground cult group named Sonic Youth. It was the only single released from their 13th studio album called NYC Ghosts & Flowers. The album has an interesting history to it. The sound and production was very different from their norm. The interesting part is the reason for the "new sound". Evidently, the album was a direct retaliation to the theft of their instruments in 1999! The album is based on beat poetry and the music is riddled with crazy sound effects. They literally used anything they could get their hands on that would make noise.

And finally, for the boring answer. The term "Nevermind", when used in conversation, is a negation to attention and/or responsiblity. Some examples from dictionary.reference.com:

  1. Pay him no nevermind.
  2. It's no nevermind of yours.

It boils down to being the noun usage for the verb phrase "never mind", which originated in the early 1930's.

Well, this was my first answer. It was fairly fun, except for the editor messing up half the links. I had to fix them manually only to be denied and restricted to only posting two links. Sorry!

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I was always under the impression it was a derivation/corruption from

Never you mind

and that it was idiomatic at best. Perhaps I've got the order reversed?

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I believe that the "you" is unnecessary to make it a sentence. The imperative case doesn't need a subject to be correct because the 2nd person is implied, like when yelling "stop that!" The same applies to the phrase "never mind that." –  JoeCool Feb 15 '11 at 23:03
    
@Joe I agree and concur, just that I always thought that the original form was the one I quoted and the asked about form was the one that came later, after the one I quoted. –  jcolebrand Feb 15 '11 at 23:05
    
Ah, I see what you're saying. :) –  JoeCool Feb 15 '11 at 23:09
    
Seems unlikely, since "Never mind" is, as JoeCool says, grammatically normal. "Never you mind", on the other hand, though undoubtedly an idiom, is grammatically rather odd: it seems still to be an imperative (declarative would be something like "Never shall you mind") but "you" is anomalous there. –  Colin Fine Feb 16 '11 at 11:09
    
@Colin so if we can show that it is imperative with an unspoken you, does that help a non-native English speaker? –  jcolebrand Feb 16 '11 at 13:03
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It's never mind. It would be written never-mind if it would be used as modifier.

? It's a never-mind talk.

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I don't think I've ever seen that second use you mention. I have, however, seen it used as @Hellion mentions ("nevermind" as a noun in the colloquial idiom, "pay me no nevermind"). –  Viktor Haag Feb 15 '11 at 21:46
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@Viktor Haag: That is why the sentence is preceded from a ?; I didn't mean that never-mind talk is a set phrase, or it is used. –  kiamlaluno Feb 15 '11 at 22:53
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You use "nevermind" in the same context that you would, alternatively, use "payattention."

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I appreciate the wryness, but not quite enough to vote it up. It's not the most helpful answer for someone who is struggling with English and just here to learn. That said, I don't find this answer mean or objectionable either. –  John Y Feb 16 '11 at 4:07
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OK I realize this thread is really old by now, but I would like to add my 2¢ worth: (I'm English-speaking American, raised mostly in California. (spent a couple years in Jolly Olde England, about age 3-5, Arizona, Washington State, and finally California around age 8.)

Anyhoo (!), here's my take on what "nevermind" means contrasted with my understanding of "never mind".

To me, "Nevermind" is used to convey that one wishes to withdraw just-uttered words, "Did you pick up the dry cleaning––?[notices dry cleaning hanging in bedroom doorway] Oh. Nevermind."

Another use, also to withdraw a question or statement, would be during a discussion or argument: "What the heck is that supposed to mean? ...Nevermind" (She realizes the futility in trying to get him to UNDERSTAND.) Or, she could ask what that's supposed to mean, and HE responds, "Nevermind", meaning, "forget it" (this conversation is going nowhere), or "FORGET IT!" (you are too dim to grasp the concept). I think stomping out of the room is required when the meaning is that last one.

On the other hand, I have only used the "never mind" (with a space) when making a statement such as, "When someone offers me cream for my coffee instead of milk, I never mind." LOL. I'm saying I've never seen it printed that way, but worth noting: while typing this post on my iPad just now, at some point I goofed up and auto-suggest suggested, both "never mind" and "never-mind", NOT plain ol' "nevermind". So there's that. I have to add that i saw the hyphenated one here today for the first time.

Oh, and by the way, "Don't pay him no nevermind" sounds horribly wrong, breaking the "Don't never use no double negatives!" rule. LOL. I would say that is a sort of regional saying, while acknowledging people move from region to region all the time. They tend to exchange their hometown habits for those of their new home, if they are there for very long, I would say. People want to sound like the locals. A more widespread way of saying the same thing, might be "Oh, Opie, your Pa didn't mean to hurt your feelings; pay him no mind." I think Aunt Bea meant for Opie not to think about that particular problem, that it would be wasteful to use up energy worrying about a non-problem, if you see what I mean. (for those of you who are not yet 100 years old(!), you could probably look up "Aunt Bea, Andy of Mayberry" on Google or YouTube, and see what that final example is about.)

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protected by tchrist Jul 1 at 0:43

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