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Does "Would you mind ~?" imply unpleasantness ???

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Does "Would you mind ~?" imply unpleasantness ???

Postby h.kobayashi » Wed 05.16.2012 4:41 pm

Hi,

Can someone please let me know about an interrogative sentence which is "Would you mind ~?" ?

Recently I found an Internet Japanese article like following ;

Would you mind ~?は丁寧な表現ではありません。これはとげとげしい嫌味な言い方です。例えばWould you mind turning off the lights?は「電気ぐらい消したらどうなのよ」と言う意味になってしまいます。


The quote mentions "Would you mind ~?" is not a polite expression. This is a way of saying about unpleasantness. For example, "Would you mind turning off the lights?" means "Why do not you put out about the lights?".

Is this true ???

Thanks in advance.
Last edited by h.kobayashi on Wed 05.16.2012 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Does "Would you mind ~?" imply unpleasantness ???

Postby phreadom » Wed 05.16.2012 5:12 pm

I would have to disagree. I think it really depends on the context...

Here are some examples:

"Would you mind helping with the dishes after we're done eating?" ← polite :)

"Would you mind turning down your music?" ← could be a little less polite depending on the tone of your voice, body language, etc.

"Would you mind keeping your opinions to yourself?" ← could be considered rude even...
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Re: Does "Would you mind ~?" imply unpleasantness ???

Postby h.kobayashi » Wed 05.16.2012 7:19 pm

Thank you for your prompt reply.

You disagree it, really...
The Japanese person who had wrote the article appeared an English well-understanding person.

I just wondered I can not say "Would you mind ~?" easily when I read it.

Thanks anyway !
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Re: Does "Would you mind ~?" imply unpleasantness ???

Postby phreadom » Wed 05.16.2012 7:37 pm

Well, when you say "Would you mind ..." what you're saying is basically "Would it be too much trouble for me to ask you to ..."

You're asking if it's too much of a bother for the person to fulfill your request, so generally it's said to be a polite way of asking someone to do something that might be a little troublesome. You're basically asking for their consent.

"Would it be too much trouble to ask you to help me with the dishes after dinner?", "If you don't mind, can you help me with my homework later?", "If it's not too much trouble, can we stop by the store on the way home?"

Of course these can be said sarcastically to make a rude point too, like "If it's not too much trouble could you not leave your dirty clothes laying around everywhere?"

hrm... that makes me think... it seems like usually when you might be being a bit rude with what you're saying, you usually use a negative statement like "Would it be too much trouble to not crank up your stereo all the time?" or "Would you mind not talking to my girlfriend anymore?" but I think I'm wandering a bit... maybe someone else has some input on this subject? :)

"Would you mind doing ..." ← generally polite. (like "I hate to bother you, but...")

"Would you mind NOT doing ..." ← can have a bit of rudeness to it. (like "please stop that, you're irritating me.")

I think the "unpleasantness" (when you're being polite) is the thing you're about to ask them to do. You're asking them to do some extra task that might be a bother for them, so you're asking them if it wouldn't be too much trouble for them to do what you're asking.
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Re: Does "Would you mind ~?" imply unpleasantness ???

Postby h.kobayashi » Wed 05.16.2012 8:47 pm

I see, the person asking "Would you mind ~?", is potentially having a kind of unpleasantness, whether it is sarcastic or not.

The point I want to know is that is it always sarcastic or not ?
The person who wrote the article, declared that it is NOT polite expression with having sarcastic meanings.

My understanding of phreadom-san's point is, it's depend on each situation.

I appreciate fast reply again.
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Re: Does "Would you mind ~?" imply unpleasantness ???

Postby LordOfTheFlies » Wed 05.16.2012 10:58 pm

h.kobayashi wrote:I see, the person asking "Would you mind ~?", is potentially having a kind of unpleasantness, whether it is sarcastic or not.

The point I want to know is that is it always sarcastic or not ?
The person who wrote the article, declared that it is NOT polite expression with having sarcastic meanings.

My understanding of phreadom-san's point is, it's depend on each situation.

I appreciate fast reply again.

"Would you mind ~?"は確かに場合によって嫌味っぽく聞こえますが、普段はどこでも使えるほど丁寧です。これは複雑な質問ですから、私には説明し切れないと思います。どれほど丁寧か否かは言葉とイントネーションによって多く変わりますが、普通に発音すれば問題ないと思います。

例えば、道を歩きながら人がどいてくれなければ通れないときに、"Would you mind moving?"を嫌味っぽく聞こえるイントネーションで言ったら意味が多く変わります。「この人、なんで自分から道を開けてくれないんだ?」というような風に聞こえてしまう可能性があります。

後、phreadomさんが言っていた通り、否定形を使うと苛立っているように聞こえてしまう可能性があるので注意してください。
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Re: Does "Would you mind ~?" imply unpleasantness ???

Postby Hektor6766 » Wed 05.16.2012 11:11 pm

If you say the incomplete phrase by itself: "Would you mind...", the implied second part to complete the sentence is "...not bothering me (getting out of my way, not invading my space, etc.).". Used in this context, it is always impolite.

This leads me to a question I've had for quite a while: translations of 構うもんか seem to indicate that it is usually an impolite expression, as in "to hell with that". But I've heard it (as nearly as I can tell) used in a sense of having just finished a chore, as we might say "that's that" or "so much for that". Can it be used that way, or am I mistaking it for another phrase?
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Re: Does "Would you mind ~?" imply unpleasantness ???

Postby h.kobayashi » Thu 05.17.2012 12:44 am

Thank you for the answers, LoadOfTheFlies-san, Hektor6766-san. :bow:
I have to take care to say "Would you mind ...", anyway...

This leads me to a question I've had for quite a while: translations of 構うもんか seem to indicate that it is usually an impolite expression, as in "to hell with that". But I've heard it (as nearly as I can tell) used in a sense of having just finished a chore, as we might say "that's that" or "so much for that". Can it be used that way, or am I mistaking it for another phrase?


I just Googled for the "to hell with that","that's that","so much for that", as I did not know the exact meanings of them.
The 構うもんか literally means "(I) do not take care (about something bad things)" as an impolite expression.

構う = take care, or simply care
-もんか/ものか = strong impolite expression to deny.

It implies "I will not take care if something-bad-things happen in the future".

For example ;
構う-もんか (地獄に落ちても, 失敗しても, etc)
I will not care (if I/you/he/she go to hell, if someone fail in the future).

I hope this helps.
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