I was asked, "would you care to grab coffee sometime?" and didn't know how to correctly respond to it. Obviously I could respond with a "yes, sounds great" or a "no, thanks", but what would a parallel complete response look like? Here are some attempts at the response in the affirmative:

  • "Yes, I would care."
  • "Yes, I would care to."
  • "Yes, I would care to do so."

All sound rather awkward, and I'm not sure they're in the affirmative.

It's possible the "would you care to" question is similar in construction to "would you mind"--for example "would you mind passing the salt?" In that case, "no I wouldn't mind" is the correct affirmative because the question is essentially asking, "if you passed the salt, would you mind that?" Given that, perhaps this is the correct response in the affirmative:

  • "No, I wouldn't care."

Here the implied meaning of the question would be "If we grabbed coffee sometime, would you care?"

I've looked into the etymology of the construction would + <subject> + care + <verb in the infinitive> and wasn't able to find anything. I had hoped the etymology would provide a clue as what the correct response construction would be.

I'd greatly appreciate answers that are able to include etymological reasoning.

  • “Would you care to grab coffee sometime" will identify the one asking as a none-native speaker. “… to grab…” could only ever work as “… to grab a…” Your obvious responses were the correct ones and any parallel complete response, however grammatically correct, would even more readily identify the speaker as a foreigner. None of them is strictly wrong but idiomatically, there is no possibility of a native speaker using any of the phrases you listed. – Robbie Goodwin Aug 17 '18 at 21:15
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    I definitely disagree that it identifies someone as a non-native speaker. I'm a native speaker and I use the "grab + <noun>" construction. If you do a Google search for "let's grab coffee", you'll see 54,000,000 results at the time I wrote this so it seems it's not just me either. And actually, if you google "let's grab a coffee" there are many fewer results. – Patrick Aug 17 '18 at 22:58
  • Patrick that's greatly interesting and did you notice first that "would you care to grab coffee sometime?" is a great deal more complex than the "grab + <noun>" construction? Could you try it again, Googling the OQ's actual wording? Until then I suggest "Would you care to grab a coffee sometime" is an every-day invitation, but not without the a article. – Robbie Goodwin Aug 28 '18 at 20:36

The problem here is not the response, but the phrase "would you care to..." Like "I could care less", it actually makes no sense taken literally, so it is best to treat it as an idiomatic phrase, and it is sometimes listed as such. That being the case, trying to make a parallel response including care is doomed to failure.

Treat it as "would you like to..."

  • "I could care less" makes no sense when taken literally because it's an incorrect version of "I couldn't care less" which does make sense when taken literally. Though even if it is an idiom, that doesn't mean that there's no correct parallel response. Even idioms come from somewhere. – Patrick Aug 21 '18 at 7:22
  • Roaring Fish, I can't imagine where you got those ideas and "would you care to..." and "I could care less" are no more comparable than roars and fish. Patrick, it took me half a lifetime to learn, and "I could care less" in American means exactly the same as "I couldn't care less" in British English. A similar idea is more obviously heard at the end of Gone With the Wind when Rhet tells Scarlet "Frankly, My Dear, I don't give a damn." In British English, that would always be "… give a damn" and you could prolly get a doctorate for explaining quite why… – Robbie Goodwin Aug 28 '18 at 20:42
  • @RobbieGoodwin - find a dictionary and look up ‘literally’. Taken literally “I couldn’t care less” is the absolute zero of caring, but “I could care less” isn’t, so you do care. Similarly, if you don’t care enough give a damn, you don’t care at all - not even enough to give a response, but if you give a damn, you do care. So no, we don’t say “I give a damn” in British English. There... that was an easy Doctorate... – Roaring Fish Aug 28 '18 at 21:31
  • @Roaring Fish, find a comparitive dictionary and look up the difference between American and British English. Not by my choice, your Question broke half the rules, neither citing repeatable sources nor explaining a preferred conclusion. Whether you like it or not, “I could care less” is in many US American dialects exactly equivalent to British English “I couldn’t care less”; literally doesn't come into it. Could you please take any further Comment to Chat? – Robbie Goodwin Aug 30 '18 at 0:16
  • So you didn't check 'literally' in a dictionary? Here: "If you translate literally, you translate each word in a text separately, without looking at how the words are used together in a phrase or sentence" (dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/literally). Try doing that with "I could care less" or "would you care to", and then explain how they make sense literally. The point here, that you are missing, is that in what are basically figurative expressions using a parallel structure in response doesn't work: "would you care to...? > "Yes I would care..." See the problem now? – Roaring Fish Aug 30 '18 at 2:16

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