Answers to Would You Mind....

Hi all GE members and moderators

When someone says "Would you mind helping me with the washing-up?", what will we say when we agree to help? and what should we say when we don't agree to help?

If I agree to help, is it all right to say "Yes, okay"?

If I don't agree to help, can I say "Sorry, I'd rather not"?

Many thanks

Original Post

Tony,

As used here, "mind" essentially means "object to".  I have heard people (including myself, unfortunately) carelessly respond in the affirmative (something to the effect of "sure, no problem") as if the question were simply:

Will you help me with the washing up?

But if you are willing to help, the answer should be in the negative:

Not at all.  I'd be glad to.

If you are not willing, you might say:

Yes I do mind.  You make the mess, so you clean it.

or simply:

Sorry, I'd rather not.

DocV

Thank you so much DocV for confirming this.

I wonder if there is any possibility in the way you say "Yes, okay" that makes the listener think we are going to help. I ask because in the book "Work on your accent", written by Helen Ashton and Sarah Shepherd, published by HarperCollins, it is said "Give the response "Yes, okay", but make it mean three completely different things."

- Would you mind helping me with the washing-up?

1. Yes, okay. (I'd be happy to help.)

2. Yes, okay, (I'd really rather not, it's boring, but I suppose I should.)

3. Yes, okay. (Anything to stop your constant nagging)

Along with these comes a recording with 3 different intonations.

 

Until now, I've always said "Not at all" if I am willing to help. But when I read this, I am confused because of the word "yes". So it must be the intonation or the way we speak that may change "yes" into "no"?

 

Many thanks

Tony, I stand by what i said before.  A "yes" answer means that you are not willing to help.  Sometimes people give an affirmative answer when they are actually willing, but this is careless and incorrect.  Mesdames Ashton and Shepherd are totally off base if they advocate using the affirmative to indicate willingness in such a context.

DocV

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