I know that "Would you mind… ?" (the Present Conditional) is more polite than "Do you mind…?" (the Simple Present), and also, that they have to be completed this way: "Do you mind if I do sth?/Would you mind if I did sth?" (asking permission), and "Do/Would you mind doing sth" (a request).

But why does

"Do you mind if … ?" occur more than "Would you mind if … ?",

and, conversely,

"Do you mind doing … ?" less than "Would you mind doing … ?"


  • This is NOT a duplicate! – user58319 Apr 27 '15 at 12:47

Although, the choice – to a native speaker of English – is intuitive, there is a reason for it.

It is all a question of logic and strategy! The level of politeness is proportioned to the effort that the listener is asked to make: giving permission is less of an effort than actually doing something for someone.

So it makes sense to say "Do you mind if I open the window?", the greater effort being mine – I will open the window – rather than "Woud you mind if I opened the window?": there is no need to be overly polite.

On the other hand, "Would you mind opening the window?" heightens the chances of success of my request, compared to just "Do you mind opening the window?"


Not disagreeing with User58319, but have something to add. "Do you mind?" is used most typically when you propose doing something that you know jolly well I am not going to like. For my sins in a past life, I was brought up in the age of universal smoking (there IS SO progress in human affairs!), and the social convention was that if a pig wanted to smoke in your home, all he had to do was ask, "Do you mind if I smoke?", and then you had no choice but to not mind. The uncouthness was considered to reside, not in lighting up stinkweed in the home of another, but in refusing permission. British politeness judo at its worst.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.