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Would you mind me opening the window?

Would you mind my opening the window?

Who uses which form, and why? Is this a difference in dialect? A difference between formal and informal grammar?

marked as duplicate by Pitarou, choster, Brian Hooper, Andrew Leach, p.s.w.g Nov 14 '13 at 4:22

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  • @RegDwigнt Thank you! That's exactly what I was looking for. I guess I should close question, then. – Pitarou Nov 12 '13 at 11:34

There is a difference. According to another website, saying "my opening" puts more emphasis on opening, so "Do you mind opening the window?" is the same as "Do you mind my opening the window?" except in the second one it's the person speaking that wants it to be opened.

The former sentence puts emphasis on the person speaking, so the former sentence asks if the second person is ok with the first person opening the window. Say the person that wants to open the window is bad at opening windows. So the person is really asking if it is ok. Let me quote what it said to explain it better.

Do you mind my marrying your daughter next month? = Is next month a good date for us to get married? In other words, you are putting emphasis on marrying.

Do you mind me marrying your daughter? = Yes, I am poor now, but I will work hard and make enough money to take care of your daughter. In other words, you put emphasis on the word me.

TL;DR: It depends on what you mean. The former asks if the person can open the window because the person is bad at opening windows or needs permission to open it up but the latter asks if opening the window is fine, and the second person doesn't care who opens it.

  • Thank you very much. Could you add a link to the "other website"? – Pitarou Nov 12 '13 at 5:44
  • This answer is misleading. Nine out of ten times, "do you mind me opening the window" and "do you mind my opening the window" mean exactly the same thing. There is only a subtle difference in emphasis. – Peter Shor Nov 12 '13 at 8:41
  • Not verbal emphasis. Emphasis in the structure of the sentence. The former has more to do with the person than the action and the latter has more to do with the action than the person. Also, website: usingenglish.com/forum/ask-teacher/… – Jonathan Spirit Nov 12 '13 at 22:34
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    @Peter Shor Yes, in this example. With 'I didn't like him singing at the nightclub' v 'I didn't like his singing at the nightclub' there is an obvious difference in focus, and possibly one might be true and the other false. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 13 '13 at 0:46
  • @EdwinAshworth This is an important special case (where the -ing form has a distinct meaning as a noun), but it doesn't really help with my question. – Pitarou Nov 13 '13 at 2:19

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