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Does the auxiliary verb 'do' work rather than the modal 'would' in the example below in the sense of permission:

Would you mind speaking in English?

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2 Answers 2

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Would you mind speaking in English?

is a polite request.

Do you mind speaking in English?

comes across more harshly, and implies you are being inconvenienced somehow by not hearing English. A bit softer than something like:

Do you mind, I am talking on the telephone.

that you might say when someone tries to interrupt you.

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  • So they mean the same and the only difference is their politeness degree. Right?
    – A-friend
    Oct 21, 2014 at 23:43
  • You're quite right.
    – Khan
    Aug 20, 2016 at 2:28
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  • If two people are friends they don't have to resort to the remote form would you mind and can just use the form do you mind without any sense of impoliteness, harshness, etc being expressed. Aug 20, 2016 at 14:31
  • This answer is not universally true. The two options are too similar to make any real distinction. In this case, the attitude of the speaker is best communicated via tone, not word choice. Oct 15, 2018 at 4:16
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You can use the phrases "Would you mind" and "Do you mind" + -ing form to ask someone politely to do things.

Hiwever, the phrase "Would you mind" is more polite and common (Cambridge).

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    If you said "do you mind speaking in English" while I was talking to some person in German, I would take that as very rude and you would get an equally rude reply that said "yes, I do mind" probably using some swear word. Now it's perfectly appropriate on ell to tell people how to speak in a rude way if they intend to be rude, but you are giving wrong advice.
    – gnasher729
    Oct 22, 2014 at 9:32
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    @gnasher729 I think it is just the scenario you gave as an example that would sound rude because otherwise the construction "Do you mind verb+ing" is not impolite in itself. It's only that the construction "Would you mind ..." is more polite. It depends on context and who you are asking. Check Oxford's example on using mind under asking permission: "Do you mind driving? I'm feeling pretty tired."
    – learner
    Oct 22, 2014 at 14:13
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    @gnasher729 Good point, but it depends on the situation. If there are two people who speak decent German, and one says "do you mind speaking in English", I would think that is rude without a good reason. But when one person speaks good English and German but the other person speaks good English and weak German, then for communication sake to ask would be acceptable. But use *would", not "do".
    – user3169
    Oct 22, 2014 at 21:37

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