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What is the correct tense of the verb "write" if I wanted to ask someone "Would you mind if I [write/wrote] your name on this list?"

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To my ears it sounds like "Would you mind if I wrote..?" is more of an "in theory" question, while "Do you mind if I write ..?" is the way you would phrase when standing right next to a sign-up list with your mate and presenting him with an actual choice. Also I don't think it's correct to use "would" + present tense.

Should he confirm the latter question, you're GOING to write his name on the list. Asking "Would you mind if I wrote.." feels like asking someone if he'd generally object or agree to you writing his name on that list.

Anyway: Out of those two choices you gave, the correct one is "Would you mind if I wrote".

  • Perhaps use "Do you mind if I write your name on this list?" instead. I think that's more grammatical (and now someone is going to yell at me for converting an absolute adjective into a comparative). – Kevin Dec 3 '14 at 21:58
  • Yeah, that's what I meant by "I don't think it's correct to use would + present tense". – J_LV Dec 3 '14 at 22:04
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Do you mind if I write...

Would you mind if I wrote...

  • Would you mind if I were to write "Would you mind if I were to write...?"? – Drew Dec 3 '14 at 22:26
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The use of write signals a likely event. The use of wrote signals a possible event.

Would you mind if I write your name on this list?...

...because that is what I plan on doing unless you tell me otherwise

Would you mind if I wrote your name on this list?...

...because I won't unless you tell me to

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