How to use ‘mind’ in requests

How to use Mind: Simple English Videos ESL Lesson

Do you mind if I have the last one? No, take it. Thank you. This video is about the verb ‘mind’. It’s a tricky verb but very useful for making requests. In this video you’ll learn how to use it correctly. Let’s ask someone. Excuse me. Would you mind taking a photo for us? No, not at all. Thank you. ‘Would you mind…?’ is rather a formal phrase and we might use it if we’re asking a stranger to do something for us. Or we might use it if we’re making a big request. OK, I’m off. Oh, are you going past the supermarket? Yes. But I haven’t got much time. We need milk. OK. I can get that. Good. And would you mind getting these things too? This is a long list!Yes, thanks very much. So we often use this phrase when we think we’re imposing – asking someone to help us when it may not be convenient or pleasant for them. Miss Carrington, I know this is going to be a bit unpleasant for you, but would you mind stepping into the next room with me? Aaargh! So what does the word ‘mind’ actually mean in questions like this? ‘Mind’ means dislike or object to something. We’d love it if you could come to stay. But do you mind dogs? Oh that’s good. If we don’t mind something, we don’t object to it. We don’t find it annoying. Listen. What? The neighbours are playing loud rock music again. I don’t mind. We don’t use ‘mind’ in positive sentences. We use it in negative sentences and questions. And something else. Notice how we form the question. If you want to use a verb after ‘mind’ you need to use a gerund – a noun form of the verb. Just add -ing to the verb to make it into a gerund. Another word that often follows mind is ‘if’. These phrases mean much the same thing and we use them to ask if it’s OK to do things. Do you mind if I borrow this? Sure, no problem. Thank you. Um, do you mind if I sit here? Oh no, not at all. Thank you. Use this phrase to ask for permission, to check it’s OK to do something. Now how would you answer these questions? If you want to agree, do you say ‘yes’ or do you say ‘no’? Do you mind if I have the last one? No, take it. Thank you. The answer is ‘no’! Saying no means ‘Yes, it’s OK to do it.’ Excuse me. Would you mind taking a photo for us? No, not at all. Thank you. ‘No’ means ‘I don’t mind, I don’t object.’ No, not at all. So if you want to say yes, you say no! Sometimes English is so confusing! OK, now there’s another expression with mind that you’re going to find useful. Did you post that letter? You mean this letter? Never mind. I’ll post it this afternoon.Never mind is similar to ‘Don’t worry about it’. “So, let’s look at sales. I’m afraid we don’t have this month’s figures yet. Never mind. We can use last month’s. Oh good. Last month’s were better.” I can’t open this jar. Do you want some help? Oh, never mind. I got it. Thanks anyway. Good. So never mind is similar to ‘forget what I just said’. We can use it to take back or withdraw a request. I can’t get reception. Um. Do you mind if I use your phone? No. Oh hang on. Never mind. It’s working. And that’s it! Now you know how to use the verb ‘mind’ in requests. Let’s see how much you can remember? We use ‘mind’ to ask people to do things for us. What’s the correct ending for this sentence? Taking. After ‘mind’ use a gerund. “We also use ‘mind’ to ask for permission to do things. What’s the missing word here? It’s if.” Now if you say ‘Do you mind if I sit here?’ and I say, ‘No, not at all’ am I agreeing to your request, or disagreeing? I’m agreeing. ‘No’ means I don’t mind, I don’t object. Great! OK, let’s finish with a different example. As I said, ‘Would you mind…?’ is a fairly formal phrase. We use it with strangers or to make big requests. If we use it with small requests with people we know well, something else is probably going on. Perhaps we’re being sarcastic because we’re annoyed with someone. “I think it’s an interesting idea. I agree. I think there are possibilities here.What do you think Jay? Jay! What? ” “Would you mind putting your cell phone away?Oh sorry!”

5 thoughts on “How to use ‘mind’ in requests

  • June 16, 2016 at 1:55 pm
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    Very useful video for foreigners studying English. It helped me a lot and Thank you for such helpful ideas.

    Reply
    • June 16, 2016 at 7:45 pm
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      So glad it was useful Mzia. Thanks for writing!

      Reply
  • Pingback: How to Use ‘Mind’ in Polite Requests – Simple English Videos

  • March 20, 2017 at 5:36 am
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    Excellent. Straightened out my head about this before I taught it, and provided my student with common contexts in an entertaining way.

    Reply
    • March 21, 2017 at 1:54 am
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      That’s great Anna. Thanks for writing.

      Reply

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