I wouldn't mind something to eat. - is correct

I wouldn't mind him to cook something to eat. - is not correct.

It's clear that the two sentences have the same structure. Why is that the first one is correct and the second one is wrong?

Is this one correct as well?

I wouldn't mind a house to possess.

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    I wouldn't mind him cooking me something to eat. I wouldn't mind owning a house would be more idiomatic. – Kate Bunting Dec 27 '20 at 9:40

I wouldn't mind is a phrase that has a couple of meanings, depending on context

  • [something] would be OK with me - I wouldn't mind if you used my car
  • [something] is not OK with me (used with but) - She ate my last apple! I wouldn't mind but she doesn't even like them
  • I would like [something] (expressing desire using understatement) - I wouldn't mind a holiday right now

Your examples are using the last meaning, expressing that you want something. The reason your first example works is because the [something] phrase functions as a noun, to cook does not. By changing it to a gerund phrase like cooking something to eat makes it work as a noun, and that fits the phrase.

I wouldn't mind a house to possess works fine too, because that's a noun phrase as well - it just sounds unusual. There's nothing wrong with the words (although possess could feel redundant), but these would all be more common ways to say it:

  • I wouldn't mind owning a house
  • I wouldn't mind having a house
  • I wouldn't mind a house ("having" it would be understood in context, but this version feels a little ironic because the word is missing, it's almost passive, or implying expectation that things should just work out that way, with you owning a house.)

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