How to answer: Do you mind if I sit down?
Recently, I visited a friend of mine. This friend is not a native English speaker.
It was my first time to visit their house and when I arrived, they were busy in the kitchen. They asked me to wait for a moment. That was fine.
I asked them, “Do you mind if I sit down?”
They answered, “Yes.”
This confused me, because their answer means “Yes, I do mind!”, which means “You cannot sit down!”
Actually, they wanted to say that it was okay for me to sit down. So what happened? Why did they make this mistake?
Actually, questions using ‘do you mind …?‘ often confuse English students:
Let’s take a look:
do you mind = do you think it is a problem
“Do you mind if I sit down?” = “Do you think it is a problem if I sit down?”
“Yes, I mind (if you sit down)” = “Yes, it is a problem if you sit down.”
“No, I don’t mind (if you sit down)” = “No, it is not a problem if you sit down.”
So if someone asks:
Do you mind if I turn on the TV?
You should answer:
Yes, I do (this means DON’T turn on the TV)
No, I don’t (this means GO AHEAD and turn on the TV)
I explained this to my friend and he then said he didn’t mind if I sat down! I was happy!
How would you answer the following:
1) You are staying with a family in Australia. You want to go out with some friends tonight.
You ask them: “Do you mind if I come home late tonight?”
They answer: “Yes.”
What does their answer mean? Is it okay for you to go out or not?
2) You live with a room mate.
Your room mate asks: “Do you mind if I smoke?”
But, you HATE smoking. What would you say? “Yes” or “No”
3) Your friend asks you: “Do you mind if I borrow $100?”
What would you answer? Explain why you agree or do not agree to lend them the money.