If you don't mind/wouldn't mind


Senior Member
Lithuanian (not certain)
If you wouldn't mind I'd like to come with you.

If you don't mind I'd like to come with you.

What are the nuances between the two? Is it just a matter of politeness?

I try to avoid "woulds" after "ifs"
  • S1m0n

    Senior Member
    Would adds a tiny amount more uncertainty, which provides a tiny amount more social distance, which is often seen as more polite. But the difference is very slight. The second example is more direct, and that's what I'd use.

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    I agree with S1m0n's analysis, but not with his conclusion. "If you don't mind I'd like to come with you" suggests, to me, that the politeness is a mere formality and I'm damn well coming with you.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    I’m not sure that it can apply when you’re using the polite-sounding “I’d like to” in the same sentence, but otherwise I tend to agree with Keith about “if you don’t mind” — which is often used to mean something like “so **** off and mind your own business!”.
    if you wouldn’t mind = assuming that’s okay with you? (sounds polite)
    if you don’t mind = unless you have any objection? (could sound like a challenge)
    As usual, context and tone make all the difference.


    New Member
    English - New Zealand
    I would say the difference is in timeframe. I would use "If you don't mind" if the person was going right now, and "wouldn't mind" if I was talking about something in the future.
    "Wouldn't mind" does come across as slightly more polite, though.


    Senior Member
    Funny that brits see "If you don't mind" as much more aggressive than I do. I've heard it said aggressively, too, but that would be uncommon in Canada.
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