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12 years, 9 months ago
The following always puzzles me as a non-native speaker.
When somebody asks the question "Do you mind if...", there seem to be two possible responses.
"Sure" and "No, not at all", which both mean that the person doesn't mind.
"Actually, I do mind", which means that the person does mind.
Why is this so confusing? Especially, how come people reply "Sure" to this question, if that could be understood to mean that they
for sure do mind?
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Aug 23, 2010 at 19:45
Peter Smit Peter Smit
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"Do you mind..." is a polite way of asking "Can you...." For this reason, it's usually acceptable to respond to the semantic intent of the question by answering "Yes (I can do that)", rather than responding to the grammatical form with "No (I don't mind)".
Native speakers sometimes get confused by this, too.
Aug 23, 2010 at 19:54
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"Sure" isn't answering the question as asked; it's answering an implied question, namely: "is it OK with you if...".
"No, not at all" is answering the question, taken literally.
Aug 23, 2010 at 19:58
Steve Melnikoff Steve Melnikoff
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I'd rather try to circumvent the problem. How about something like this:
*"Do you mind if I open the window?"
*"Do you mind if I take a piece of cake?"
In the first case it's useful to smile if you think it sounds rude.
Aug 23, 2010 at 21:27
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People seem to want to answer in the affirmative when granting permission (me included), so I usually ask the question that way: "Is it OK if I..."
Aug 24, 2010 at 2:16
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