I don’t care – I don’t mind: American and British English

Mind – US and UK Differences: Simple English Videos ESL Lesson

Would you like tea, or coffee? I don’t mind. I don’t care. This video’s about a curious difference between British and American English. I’m American. Yes, Jay’s American and I’m British. And this video’s about a family argument. Yes. It’s about the way Jay uses the phrase ‘I don’t care’. No, it’s about how you use the phrase ‘I don’t mind’. Do you want to tell them or shall I? I don’t care. Then let me begin. When you offer us two alternatives, two possibilities, British and American people respond in different ways. Would you like tea, or coffee? I don’t mind. I don’t care. We both mean we’re happy with either alternative, but our responses are different. So same intentions but different responses – that can lead to misunderstandings. Let’s go to the cinema tonight. You mean the movies. There’s that comedy with Sandra Bullock, and that one with Robert De Niro. Which do you fancy? I don’t care. You don’t want to go then? No, I don’t care. All right then. We won’t go. What did I do? In American ‘I don’t care’ means I’m happy with either possibility. You can decide because I like both alternatives. If we say ‘I don’t care’ in British English, it probably means we’re apathetic – we’re not interested. ‘I don’t care’ sounds negative. So what would you like for dinner? Spaghetti or an omelette? Oh I don’t care. I don’t care is often rude in British English. We’d say ‘I don’t mind’. What do you want for dinner? Spaghetti or an omelette? I don’t mind. What? ‘I don’t mind’ makes no sense in American English. It’s the answer to the question ‘Do you mind…?’ like ‘Do you mind if I have the last cookie?'” You can answer ‘No, I don’t mind’, or ‘Actually, I want it’. But if I ask ‘Do you want this or that’ and you answer ‘I don’t mind’ you’re answering a question I didn’t ask, and it drives me crazy. Would you like red wine or white wine? I don’t mind. But which do you want? OK everyone, we’re finished. Now, let’s go and see that movie. You want to see it? Yeah. Great! Now, do you want to walk or take the bus? I don’t mind. Well make up your mind!Why? You can decide.

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