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What is the difference between "Hope you don't mind" and "Hope you won't mind"? What could be a contextual difference between the two? In a situation like the following, which one seems more approproitae?

  • Expect me to knock on your door sometimes. "Hope you don't mind(my knocking on your door)" Or "Hope you won't mind"
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2 Answers

If you have knocked on the door already (with the possibility doing so again in the future), then it needs to be:

  • I hope you don't mind me/my knocking on your door.

But if you are referring to expected single or repeated actions, then it can be either of the two:

  • I hope you don't / won't mind me knocking on your door.
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I suspect actual usage isn't that clear cut. –  Neil Coffey Feb 2 '12 at 13:25
    
@Neil, I think the distinction I made above is clear-cut. What isn't, however, is which of the auxiliaries is more common for expected events. I ran some searches on the string I hope you don't / won't mind if (the if implies the future). Google returns more hits for the won't variation and Bing/Yahoo more hits for the don't variation, so it is difficult to say which is the more common. It is possible that using don't implies I hope you don't mind right now what I am telling you will happen and won't implies I hope you won't mind in the future when whatever it is happens. –  Shoe Feb 2 '12 at 19:44
    
It is also possible that don't is more likely for an event that will occur immediately in the future and won't for one in the more distant future. Example: I hope you don't mind if I ask you a question as against I hope you won't mind if I'm a bit late. But this is pure speculation on my part and I hope you won't mind if I don't pursue the issue. –  Shoe Feb 2 '12 at 19:52
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Both are grammatically correct, but depending on context the have different implications.

"I hope you won't mind" implies a more remote possibility - it's more "polite" and establishes more of a distance between the speaker and listener. It implies something can be done so that the knock on the door doesn't happen, if the listener does, indeed, mind.

Technically, the "don't" is present simple tense, implying a fact. "Won't" is first conditional.

You can change the sentence to "You won't mind when I knock on your door, will you?" (which alters the semantics and "mood" of the sentence but not the meaning) - it's noon now, I will knock on your door at three, and I want to make sure that isn't a problem.

"...if I knock..." means maybe I will, maybe I won't knock on your door at 3, and i want to make sure there's no problem if I do.

"You don't mind when I knock on your door" means I have done it before and will probably do it again.

"I hope you don't mind if I knock on your door" is awkward, but implies something possible in the future.

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