Don't mind the mess

Eric Chengdu

Senior Member
Chinese
When you stop by your friend's house, which is a mess, your friend may say something like "don't mind the mess". interestingly, I find people also say "don't look too close" or "don't pay attention to the mess". In our (chinese) culture, we never say these two in that situation. they sound a bit weird and funny to my ears. we (chinese people) would say something like "I'm embarrassed by the mess" or "It's really a mess, don't laugh at me", which I think are not idiomatic in your culture.

What do people normally say in that situation? I'd also like to learn the different ways that people express themself, what would you say in that sitution? Thanks
 
  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It's one of those things where many different things could be said. It depends on personal preference, how well you know the person, and how messy the house is.

    I would probably say, "Sorry about the mess."
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't think 'regional' is the issue. I gave up apologising for 'mess' in my house about thirty years ago. People who never have any 'mess' have serious problems, in my book. Of course my 'mess' doesn't mean 'dirtiness'.
    If people don't like untidiness, that's their problem.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Yes. I thought "mind" in this sense was universal British English, so I was surprised to hear that Loob doesn't use it.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    i suppose that in the days when I felt obliged to say something, I'd say 'Sorry about the mess'. People will 'take notice' if they want to. People would say that regardless, even if their place looked like a museum exhibit. What does 'a mess' mean?
    It's so subjective.
    Maybe it's a class thing?
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    i suppose that in the days when I felt obliged to say something, I'd say 'Sorry about the mess'. People will 'take notice' if they want to. People would say that regardless, even if their place looked like a museum exhibit. What does 'a mess' mean?
    It's so subjective.
    Maybe it's a class thing?
    I don't know if it's a class thing. I personally don't really give a toss what people think but I apologise 'pro-forma', as it were. I think I shall stop from now on, as I am also perfectly well aware that nobody would ever be honest with me anyway and so I should stop being a hypocrite too!:D
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    I don't think 'regional' is the issue. I gave up apologising for 'mess' in my house about thirty years ago. People who never have any 'mess' have serious problems, in my book. Of course my 'mess' doesn't mean 'dirtiness'.
    If people don't like untidiness, that's their problem.
    The closest I come to apologizing is to say "As you can see, I prefer a homey, lived-in look."
    If I would be embarrassed for someone to see my mess, I'd either close the door or tidy the room until it met my standards for public mess.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    If I would be embarrassed for someone to see my mess, I'd either close the door or tidy the room until it met my standards for public mess.
    I love the phrase 'public mess'.
    I don't invite in whoever hasn't been invited, unless it's a major emergency.
    I've thought that I could open my place to the public to raise money for charity. The only thing I would have to have in impeccable order would be the kitchen and the toilet/bathrooms.

    It's a very different matter if you have invited somebody, or have been invited, for a specific time. In that case the least you need do is provide a cleared, clean seat for them to sit in.
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    Please ignore the mess!
    (Some prefer to lie: "As you can see, we had the grandchildren here today! :) :eek:)

    (I don't use "Don't mind x" for [???] "Don't pay attention to x".)
    Loob, are you saying:

    --- "for" (you use both, but see them as having different meaning/uses?)

    --- "for" (you use one but not the other?)

    --- "or" (you don't use either of them?)
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Loob, are you saying:

    --- "for" (you use both, but see them as having different meaning/uses?)

    --- "for" (you use one but not the other?)

    --- "or" (you don't use either of them?)
    Sorry to be confusing:oops:.
    I don't use "Don't mind x" to convey the meaning "Don't pay attention to x".

    EDIT. The more I think about it, the more I think I probably don't use imperative "Don't mind" at all....
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    we (chinese people) would say something like "I'm embarrassed by the mess" or "It's really a mess, don't laugh at me", which I think are not idiomatic in your culture.
    Different people say different things. Some people apologize for the mess. They might say:
    1. Please excuse the mess.
    2. Sorry about the mess.

    Other people don't mention it. This is the way their house is. They don't apologize.
     

    Eric Chengdu

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    1. Please excuse the mess.
    2. Sorry about the mess.
    Please ignore the mess!
    (Some prefer to lie: "As you can see, we had the grandchildren here today! :) :eek:)
    "As you can see, I prefer a homey, lived-in look."
    "Don't mind me!"? :D
    Take no notice of the mess
    Sorry about the mess
    Thank you all very much for your help :thumbsup: :idea:
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    How strange to want to draw someone's attention to the mess by saying " Don't mind the mess" :D I'd just try to act normal: Never apologise, never explain.

    If you are almost certain that your visitor has taken note of the disarray, and it worries you, you can say "Sorry about the mess".
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    How strange to want to draw someone's attention to the mess by saying " Don't mind the mess" :D I'd just try to act normal: Never apologise, never explain.

    If you are almost certain that your visitor has taken note of the disarray, and it worries you, you can say "Sorry about the mess".
    It's just something I say but as I said above I don't give a toss so I shan't any longer.:D
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    The more I think about it, the more I think I probably don't use imperative "Don't mind" at all....
    What about the related "Mind the step!", "Mind your head!", "Mind your manners!" and "Mind your own business!"?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    What about the related "Mind the step!", "Mind your head!", "Mind your manners!" and "Mind your own business!"?
    I happily use imperative "Mind", Linkway. It's imperative "Don't mind" that I don't think I use.:)
     
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