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Would You Mind Taking Care of my Dog? How to Respond in English.
Announcer: This is an All Ears English podcast Episode 1020: “Would You Mind Taking Care of my Dog? How to Respond in English.”
Announcer: Welcome to the All Ears English Podcast, downloaded more than 50 million times. We believe in Connection NOT Perfection ™, with your American hosts Lindsay McMahon, the ‘English Adventurer’, and Michelle Kaplan, the ‘New York Radio Girl,’ coming to you from Boston and New York City, U.S.A.
Announcer: And to get your transcripts delivered by email every week, go to AllEarsEnglish.com/subscribe.
Announcer: We are dog crazy. Today let’s dig into a common question from our listeners about how to respond to the question, “Would you mind?” Do you use yes or no? Find out today.
Michelle: Hey (h) Lindsay, how are you?
Lindsay: Hey (hi) Michelle, I’m feeling good.
Michelle: Good, good, good, good, good. Anything new or exciting going on in your life?
Lindsay: Ohh my gosh, what is new and exciting? Well, I know that we’re planning a trip out to Colorado pretty soon, and I love the West. Like, I love going out West because it makes me feel like, just so expansive, just how wide open the highways are and just the spaces. So, I’m excited to go out West for, I think we’re going next weekend, so that should be awesome.
Michelle: Oh wow. How long are you going for? Just the weekend?
Lindsay: Yeah (yes), just, like, the weekend, you know what I mean? Do the red eye thing on the way back, and you know, just all that good stuff. So, should be fun, but I love the West. I feel like I kind of belong out there. I mean, the West meaning Western U.S., like Colorado, Utah, Idaho, like, I just like the wide-open spaces. I think almost maybe more than I appreciate the ocean because I grew up like on the coast, you know. How about you? Do you prefer, like, the coast, like, the ocean, or do you like the mountains and the open spaces?
Michelle: I think I like the coast. I don’t know, I do like to see, like, you know, water and you know, like, I always go and look at the water and I like to be, I mean, I’m not a huge beach person, but I do, I like knowing it’s there.
Lindsay: Yeah (yes). There’s something about the salt air that really calms the mind. I think it, like, relaxes the whole body. You know?
Michelle: Yeah (yes), yeah (yes).
Lindsay: But I think we need both, we need mountains and ocean. [laughter] Michelle: I agree, I agree. Let’s do it. Well, have a great trip, have fun.
Lindsay: Yeah (yes), it should be fun; I’ll tell you guys about it when I get back for sure. Yeah (yes).
Michelle: Looking forward to it. Awesome. So, Lindsay, today we have a question from a listener about “Do you mind?”. So, this is from Kayla and it’s a really good question. So, Lindsay, would you read it for us?
Lindsay: Yeah (yes), so, here we go. So, she says. “Hello, Lindsay and Michelle, there’s one question that’s been troubling me for a long while. I always have a hard time answering ‘Would you mind?’ For example, if my academic adviser asks me, “Would you mind if we reschedule our appointment to Thursday?” If I want to let her know I’m okay with that, should I reply, ‘Yes, of course.’ or, ‘No, not at all.’ Just to clarify, yes is, like, ‘Yes, I can see you on Thursday.’ and no is, ‘No, I don’t mind.’ Hope I would get a professional explanation from you gals. Thank you very much.
From Kayla.” Nice question, Kayla. Awesome.
Michelle: Okay, yeah (yes). So, guys, if you want to check it out, we actually did an episode about the whole “yeah (yes), no” situation and how complicated that can be. So, if you want to go check out Episode 708 you can get more on that today.
Lindsay: Yeah (yes), Michelle, I know this is something that our listeners really struggle with because I think in certain languages there’s a translation that doesn’t make sense when you compare it with the way we translate it. So, guys, I know this is something you guys struggle with. So, guys, if you’re listening on the app, you can get 708 really quickly if you go ahead into the search bar and type 708 into the search bar inside the iOS app. If you’re not listening inside the app, you should be if you’re an iOS user. Go to AllEarsEnglish.com/bonuses because you can find our bonus videos in there every week, and those are some fun videos, Michelle. They’re super authentic. Right? Like, we get to see you on the streets of New York.
Right? Just kind of hanging out, teaching us things about your city. We get to see Jessica out in Portland, which is a whole different city. It’s just really cool, guys. So, you really want to be listening inside that app.
Michelle: Definitely, definitely. We will see you there.
Lindsay: See you there. Okay, Michelle, let’s dig into it.
Michelle: Alright, so, yes, Kayla was asking about “would you mind”, “do you mind”, like, you know, what do you say in these situations? So, if somebody requests something from you, like a change of plans or something like that, the first one, I mean, there are a few ways to answer, but the first thing that comes to my mind is just “Sure, no problem.” Right?
Lindsay: Yeah (yes), yeah (yes), yeah (yes). That makes it easier because you avoid saying yes or no. Right?
Michelle: That’s true. Yeah (yes), yeah (yes), exactly. Yeah (yes). Because it can be tough.
Lindsay: You can bypass this whole problem. [laughter] Michelle: That’s right, that’s right.
Lindsay: Just by saying “sure”.
Michelle: “Sure, no problem.” Right. Yeah (yes). That’s funny.
Michelle: Yeah (yes). Yeah (yes), I think that this one is very casual. I think people say it all the time. So, like, for example, Lindsay, what might you ask me to do?
Lindsay: So, “Hey, Michelle, would you mind watering my plants while I’m in Colorado?”
Michelle: “Sure, no problem.”
Lindsay: So, you don’t have to say yes, no. Right? You can bypass it, like we said, just say, “Sure, no problem.” Love it.
Michelle: Exactly, exactly. I think that this is very common, Lindsay. Is that, kind of, in your vocabulary?
Lindsay: Yeah (yes), ohh my gosh. I use “sure”, like, 100 times a day.
Michelle: Sure, sure, sure, yeah (yes). [laughter] Lindsay: Sure, sure, sure.
Michelle: Very casual, very common.
Lindsay: Very natural, native.
Michelle: Very casual.
Lindsay: Yeah (yes).
Michelle: So, we’re going to move on to a couple other things, you know. But, so, what to remember, is in my opinion, so, the question is, you know, “do you mind” not “will you”. Right? So, it’s not like, “Will you water my plants while I’m away?” Okay?
Lindsay: Yeah (yes).
Michelle: So, could you say… Sorry, I’m getting a little confused. So, Kayla’s question was could you say “no, not at all”, right? So “Would you mind watering my plants while I’m away?” “No, not at all”.
Lindsay: Yeah (yes).
Michelle: That means ‘Yes, I can do that,’ right?
Lindsay: Yeah (yes), because you’re responding to “do you mind” or “would you mind”. You’re not saying “No, I won’t water your plants.”, you’re saying “No, I don’t mind, I don’t mind at all.”
Lindsay: Yeah (yes) that’s the point, that’s what you’re trying to say. Right, Michelle?
Michelle: Yes, exactly. Got back on track. [laughter] Lindsay: Okay.
Michelle: Okay. So, another one; so, for example, if I say, “Ohh, would you mind calling me later? I have a question.”.
Lindsay: “Oh no, not at all. I’ll call you around 7.”
Michelle: Right. So yeah (yes) “Would you mind”, you wouldn’t mind. Right? So, that’s basically what that’s about, right?
Lindsay: Yeah (yes). You are saying, “No, I don’t mind at all.” Right? “No, not at all.” You’re just taking out “I don’t mind”.
Michelle: Right, right, that’s right. So, another thing is “yes, of course”. So, this is interesting. Okay, so, now here we go. So, do you want to give this one a try, Lindsay?
Lindsay: Yeah (yes). So “Hey, I am taking a trip out West and I’m so excited. So, would you mind watching my dog this weekend?”
Michelle: “Yes, of course”.
Lindsay: Ohh my gosh, I wish I had a dog. I was trying to convince my parents, by the way, this weekend, to get a dog.
Michelle: That’s so funny.
Lindsay: I was pushing it hard on them, pushing it, but I’m not sure if we’ll do it.
Michelle: You’re like a little kid, I love it.
Lindsay: Yeah (yes), because my dad’s about to retire, like, tomorrow is his last day of work.
Michelle: Oh, congrats to him.
Lindsay: It’s such a side point, but he’s put so much of his life into building his business, and now he’s retiring and I’m worried. I feel like he’s going to need a little furry friend.
Michelle: Yeah (yes), definitely. Yeah (yes). Ohh man, do you think they might do it?
Lindsay: I hope so. My mom is so practical and she’s, like, “Ohh, but your father needs knee surgery and all this stuff”, but I’m just, like, “No, he needs a friend. He needs a companion to go walk around the neighborhood, go swimming with.” You know? And so I want them to get the dog.
Michelle: Well, you’ll have to keep us posted. I hope they do.
Lindsay: I’ll let you know, I’ll let you know. So, anyways, back to the point, but just a side point made me think of that, anyways.
Michelle: Right, right. No, it’s fine. So, yeah (yes), you could say “yes, of course”, however, you know “would you mind” and then answering “yes of course”. So “Would you mind watching my dog tomorrow night?” “Yes, of course.” I mean, I think that there is some ambiguity here.
Lindsay: Yeah (yes).
Michelle: Unless you add something like “I’d love to”, it might be unclear if you’re saying “yes” or “no”.
Lindsay: I feel like it would be pretty clear, though, because if you’re saying… If you’re going to say “no” here, you’d have to say “Yeah (yes), actually I would mind.” Which, I think that’s rude to say that, first of all. I wouldn’t say that, like, “I would mind”, that’s kind of weird.
Michelle: No, no. Ohh, that would be.
Lindsay: Yeah (yes), so, I feel like it’s pretty clear. Especially if we listen in on other signals, like the tone of voice, guys. Right? Like “Would you mind watching my dog this weekend while I go to Colorado?” “Ohh yeah (yes), of course, no problem.” So, there’s going to be context there, right?
Michelle: That’s true, and we mentioned some of that in 708. So, guys, definitely check that out.
Lindsay: Context. I mean, I know that a lot of our listeners do have problems with this, guys, but it’s so much more than just saying “yes” or “no”. Right? It’s context, it’s what you say after “yes”, it’s so much more. You’ve got to look at the big picture.
Michelle: Yeah (yes). Ohh definitely, definitely. So, yeah (yes). I think that, though, it always helps to add a little bit more. Like, if you say “yes, of course” I’d say, like, “Ohh, I’d love to” or something like that.
Lindsay: Yeah (yes) exactly, exactly.
Michelle: That might help it a little bit. I mean, but what else can you say when somebody says would you mind doing something, Lindsay? What’s one that you could say?
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Lindsay: Right. So, “Would you mind?” “Of course not. Of course I wouldn’t mind.”
Michelle: Right, or “Yeah (yes), that works for me.”
Lindsay: Or “Yeah (yes), that sounds good.” or “That sounds good”.
Michelle: Right, or “No, that’s fine”, right?
Lindsay: Yeah (yes). So, I feel like the answer here is probably what we also said in 708, is that there’s no clear formula here, guys, in terms of do you answer with “yes” or do you answer with “no”. You can answer with both.
Michelle: Right, right, right, exactly. Yeah (yes) “Of course not”, “That works for me”, “That sounds good”, “No, that’s fine”, those are all little phrases that you can use to answer “Would you mind” or “Do you mind” right?
Lindsay: Yeah (yes), but I think knowing, keeping in mind, like, what you’re answering. What is the question you’re answering is “do you mind”, not “would you take care of my dog” right? It’s “do you mind”.
Michelle: Right, right.
Lindsay: But looking at context. Looking at the whole conversation, not just the next word.
Michelle: Exactly, the overall question. What is the question that you are answering? Yeah (yes), so, I mean, just remember, you know, the question is “do you mind”. So, if you need to clarify, you can also do that. So, if you say “yes”, if you’re not sure if that’s the right thing to say, you can always say “I’d love to” or “yes that sounds great”. Just to add something on a little bit more positive, so that if you want to make extra sure that the person will understand.
Lindsay: Exactly, just, it’s good to err on the side of being more communicative rather than less, right?
Michelle: Definitely. Okay, so, Lindsay, we’re going to do a role play, so, back to the dogs. You are having me dog sit for the weekend, I guess, while you’re in Colorado, and you’re giving me instructions.
Lindsay: Alright, I love it. I love that we’re talking about dogs today. I love dogs.
Michelle: Me too.
Lindsay: “So, Michelle, my dog, she eats three times a day and would you mind making sure she really finishes that last bowl? The doctor wants her to gain weight, she’s a little skinny.”
Michelle: Of course not.
Lindsay: “Thanks. Do you mind also sending me a picture of her once a day? I’m going to miss her so much.” [laughter]
Michelle: [laughter] “Sure, no problem. Ohh, would you mind if I came over tomorrow at 9 instead of 8:45? I have a work phone call.”
Lindsay: “Yeah (yes), of course, 9 is totally fine.” She doesn’t keep track of time very well. [laughter]
Michelle: [laughter] “Thanks. And would you mind if I ordered a pizza on Friday with some friends?”
Lindsay: “Ohh yeah (yes), that sounds good. Do what you need to do.” [laughter] Michelle: Okay. Alright. We’re asking each other a lot of questions here.
Lindsay: Sounds like my dog is a little princess there, huh?
Michelle: It does, yeah (yes). I know, really. Like, “Ohh, she needs a massage and take her shopping.” Right, I know. It really does sound like that, yeah (yes). And also, that you’re, like, crazy about your dog, which I could understand.
Lindsay: Yeah (yes).
Michelle: The imaginary dog.
Lindsay: Yeah (yes), that’s definitely, that’s a really interesting part of our culture. I feel like we’ve done an episode or two on that, though. But this idea of, like, how crazy we are about our dogs here, and it’s true. We are crazy about our dogs. [laughter]
Michelle: Exactly true. Yeah (yes). So, let’s go through it. So, you said, “Would you mind making sure she finishes that last bowl? The doctor wants her to gain weight.” So, I said, “Of course not.” Right? So “of course not” is a good way to answer “do you mind” or “would you mind”.
Lindsay: Yeah (yes). And the point of today is you also could have said “Yeah (yes), sure, not a problem.” or you could have answered this with “of course not” or “yes”. Right? Just looking at the whole context of the question in the conversation. That’s what we want our listeners to take away today, I think.
Michelle: Right, right, right, exactly. And then you also want me to send you a picture of her once a day. I said, “Sure, no problem.” And that, you know, that one to me sounds so natural. Right? Which I think that’s the first one we talked today.
Lindsay: Ohh yeah (yes), for sure. I would have said, “Sure, no problem.”
Michelle: Yeah (yes).
Lindsay: Kind of weird, right?
Michelle: Sounds, like, a little crazy.
Michelle: [laughter] And then I say, “Would you mind if I came over tomorrow at 9 instead of 8:45?”, and what did you say?
Lindsay: I said, “Yeah (yes), of course, 9 is totally fine.”
Michelle: Yeah (yes). And I feel like the second add-on, like, kind of just, like, makes sure that I know that her “Yes, of course.” was, like, a positive answer, not, “Yes, of course I mind.” Right?
Lindsay: Yeah (yes). Yeah (yes), exactly, yes, of course. Yeah (yes), so, if you’re not sure, guys, if you’re conveying the correct answer, then just add a little something more, add a little more information.
Michelle: Right, definitely. And so yeah (yes), and then, “Would you mind if I ordered a pizza on Friday with some friends?” And you said?
Lindsay: “That sounds good.” And then this last part, “Do what you need to do”, for me that felt a little bit strange. Because I, I feel like that would be used more sarcastically, in my world, at least, Michelle. Like, I would use that more, like…
Michelle: That’s interesting.
Lindsay: I don’t know, maybe we just have different speaking styles. I don’t know.
Michelle: Well, of course. I mean, yeah (yes), I hear, like, “Do what you need to do.”
Like, I guess it would depend how you say it.
Lindsay: Yeah (yes), I guess so.
Michelle: But, I mean, I can definitely see that it could be the way you said it. But I guess, you know, to me it always comes back to the tone of voice.
Lindsay: Yeah (yes), it’s the tone of voice. I mean, I maybe would have chosen different words, but, like, your tone of voice is the most important thing. I may have said, like, “Yeah (yes), it sounds good, whatever you want.”
Whatever you want or, you know, whatever you feel like. But yeah (yes), “do what you need to do”, as long as you are using the right tone of voice.
Michelle: Right, right, right, definitely. Yeah (yes). Well, this has been a really good question from Kayla. And I think that it’s really important to know how to answer these things and we gave you some variety here. Some things that Kayla mentioned, we even got to, and yeah (yes), gave you some different tools to connect with people in these situations.
Lindsay: Yeah (yes), I mean, the takeaway today, Michelle, I think is, guys, remember, it’s about the context of the whole conversation, the whole exchange, to know whether you’re saying it correctly. Right? It’s not a formula of, like, “would you mind” is always yes or “would you mind” is always no, it’s not that simple. Right? Connection is about looking at the whole thing, nonverbals, tone of voice, what comes before and after what you’re saying, guys. So, focus on the connection, don’t worry so much, “Should I say yes, should I say no? What do I do?” Right? That’s where we break the connection. Right?
Michelle: Exactly. Good point, Lindsay.
Lindsay: Yeah (yes), I love it. Alright, Michelle, this has been fun, and I always love talking about dogs. Can’t wait to get one.
Michelle: Alright, Lindsay, have a good one.
Lindsay: Alright, take care. Bye.
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