Is there any difference between the following sentences?

Would you mind if I smoke a cigarette outside?

Would you mind me smoking a cigarette outside?

Would you mind if I prepare a tea cup for you?

Would you mind me preparing a tea cup for you?

To me, "Would you mind me [doing something]?" and "Would you mind if I [do something]?" seem equivalent ways to ask before doing something, but maybe there are differences between those phrases that a native speaker would catch.

4 Answers 4


Yes, there is a very subtle difference between the two forms

Would you mind if I smoke a cigarette outside?

is equivalent to

Would you mind my smoking a cigarette outside?

since both phrases refer to the action of smoking. In the second form, when referring to the action of smoking and you want to use the verbal noun (gerund) smoking, you have to use my.

Would you mind me smoking a cigarette outside?

refers to me personally and not the action of smoking.

Would you mind if..? or Do you mind if..? is just another way of saying May I..?

  • 2
    Would you mind ...? is usually used to ask if the person has any objections as a matter of courtesy. We usually ask this to avoid upsetting someone or doing something that they would not like. May I ...? is usually asking for permission. We usually ask this if we want to do something that requires the other person's approval.
    – ctype.h
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 23:02
  • @ctype.h Can you please give an example of a situation in which you couldn't replace one with the other? It seems to me that both expressions ask for permission, but in different ways. Commented Mar 28, 2013 at 7:36
  • 1
    If I understand what @ctype.h is saying, would you mind is not asking for permission, but rather telling the person what you are going to do, so the other knows what to do (e.g. if smoke bothers me, I move away from that person). To me, both seem ways to see if the other person has problems with that, even if would you mind doesn't seem to ask for permission. For example, I can imagine a person to whom smoke can cause a allergic reaction and who cannot move from where he is. (This is my interpretation, although I know that in American a question not always expects an answer.)
    – apaderno
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 8:11

Would you mind if I is always followed by the simple past. Would you mind if I smoked a cigarette? (incorrect: would you mind if I smoke ...) The meaning of this sentence is : may I smoke a cigarette? or is it alright if I smoke? AND Would you mind is followed by -ing (a gerund). Would you mind closing the windows? The meaning of this sentence is : I don't want to cause you any trouble but would you please close the windows?


The answer above is wrong.It must be

Would you mind if I smoked a cigarette outside?


Do you mind if I smoke a cigarette outside?


I don't see any difference at all between

1 Do you mind if I smoke


2 Do you mind me smoking

As a non-native I can't judge but I guess that 1 is getting the usual construction in colloquial language. But that's for natives to judge and I think that there are regional and individual habits to consider.

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