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Which one is more appropriate - "If you don't mind me asking" or "If you don't mind my asking"?

I always thought that it was "If you don't mind me asking", but I recently heard "If you don't mind my asking" (more precisely, whilst watching True Detective, I heard "If you don't mind me asking" but the subtitles read "If you don't mind my asking").

Now, the latter makes sense if "asking" is referred to as a noun, but it sounds a little twisted.

Which one is the right one?

Thanks

  • 2
    Both are fine - one excuses the person, the other excuses the question. – Lawrence Feb 21 '16 at 11:15
  • @Lawrence: Do you mean that in the first one I am asking the other person to excuse me for asking a question, and in the second one I am asking the other person to excuse me for the specific contents of the question? – barak manos Feb 21 '16 at 11:20
  • I believe there is no difference in meaning, if only in register. – Armen Ծիրունյան Feb 21 '16 at 11:24
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    This is a good question... Not only have I heard both, I've used both - probably without realizing it. Since my mom is from New England and my dad is from New York, when I notice these oddities in my own speech, I chalk it up to "regional differences". (US) – Oldbag Feb 21 '16 at 12:01
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    Related question, What is the correct form of a gerund?. It would be very helpful for you to read the second link in the first answer of the linked question. – user140086 Feb 21 '16 at 12:58
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You may say either one, though the meaning would slightly differ.

  • "Me asking" is more protocolar with deference for your interlocutor ; it's the usual version.
  • "My asking" - which is also OK - is just excusing your question, not your person expressing it. (I guess we would not use it before a king, even if we don't care of royalty as in the White House & Senate we hear "excuse my asking" in comittee or from the press. In Courts, the bench often shoots "my asking".)
  • 1
    OK, I'll have to translate "protocolar", "deference" and "interlocutor" first... – barak manos Feb 21 '16 at 12:24
  • You don't need a translator but an english dictionary :) – DAVE Feb 21 '16 at 13:30
  • OK, thanks, I'm still trying to figure out the other answers posted as suggestions. – barak manos Feb 21 '16 at 13:40
  • OK only if you're serious (I thought you were joking) : protocolar - formal ; interlocutor - the one you talk ; deference - respect – DAVE Feb 21 '16 at 13:49
  • OK ! sorry Barak – DAVE Feb 21 '16 at 13:50

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