I have had this question for a long time and I couldn't find any answers for it. I have often heard this sentence from an American interlocutor and also in some movies:

"Would you mind not to do something?"

I would like to know if it is correct to use this sentence in this way.


2 Answers 2


No, it is wrong to say:

Would you mind not to do that?

That must be worded this way:

Would you mind not doing that?

This is one of those places where it actually makes a critical difference whether a to-infinitive or an -ing form is used. The infinitive is not allowed here for this particular construction of to mind plus a VP. Not all VPs are interchangeable. You need the -ing version.

  • What exactly does the infinitive is not allowed here for this particular construction mean? All I can see is we don't say it because we don't hear it from other people. Is there some rule (or even principle) allowing the infinitive in closely-related constructions involving, for example, wish, care, like, but not with the specific verb to mind? I think it's just idiomatic. Dec 18, 2012 at 15:35
  • I do not believe there is a general rule, only the lexical rule that "mind subcategorises for a gerund, not a to-infinitive". Many verbs subcategorise for particular objects, in no predictable way.
    – Colin Fine
    Dec 18, 2012 at 15:42
  • @Colin: Among others, Florence B. Hyett's "Fifty Christmas Poems for Children" (1923) - I should not mind to die for them, my own dear downs, my comrades true. But that great heart of Bethlehem, he died for men he never knew. Doggerel maybe, but it certainly doesn't sound ridiculous to me. Saying "mind subcategorises for a gerund means nothing to me except "that's how we usually use this verb". Dec 18, 2012 at 15:57
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    Complementizer choice, as well everything else about a subject or object complement, is governed by the matrix predicate. In this case, mind governs a gerund object complement with A-Equi, and doesn't allow an infinitive complement. These are simple grammatical facts, like subject-verb agreement. I don't really understand what all the fuss is about. Dec 18, 2012 at 17:16
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    If there is a reason, it's unknown. You might as well try to explain the Syntax Lab reports on various predicates in the answers at the end the Equi link. Every predicate has its own set of predilections, options, alternations, affordances, and prohibitions, and the closer you look at them, the more you can see their individual grammatical idiosyncracies. Arbitrariness is the rule, not the exception. Dec 18, 2012 at 20:43

OP's construction is extremely "non-standard". Many instances in the first page of results from Google Books for "would you mind to" are language guides citing it as an example of incorrect usage, and several others appear to be from non-native speakers anyway.

I don't think there's any grammatical rule in play here - there's no fundamental difference between mind and, for example, care. And we certainly say "Would you care to do that?" - although in the negative, native speakers invariably prefer "Would you mind not doing that?" rather than "Would you care not to do that?" (but you could use wish there without raising eyebrows).

Perhaps because it's a construction primarily used in "polite/formal" requests, native speakers may be extra careful to take note of and replicate the exact form used by others. Which makes the "idiomatic preference" particularly strong in this case.

EDIT: I don't know why all this answer has collected so far is a downvote. I admit this example...

I should not mind to die for them, my own dear downs, my comrades true.

But that great heart of Bethlehem, he died for men he never knew.

...is effectively "doggerel", but I don't think it would have been published at all if it had been considered blatantly ungrammatical.

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