A project was given to our group by our honorable project guide, and none of us started the project, nor have informed anything about the project. After two month's hush, our guide sent us an email, and threatened to cut the deal if we didn't show any progress. We panicked and started doing the project; within three days, we completed 65% of it. One of our fellow members sent an apology email to our guide, after he allocated some time for us to meet with him from his busy schedule, stating:

Thank you very much for giving some of your valuable time to us especially after all the time we wasted.

The reply of our guide contained the following sentences, along with the confirmation of the meeting time:

And about the apology, I hope you understand that it was not my time, but yours, that you wasted so far, and I really wouldn't mind if you did actually waste my time. It's your time and project completion that is at stake. I am happy that you are taking it seriously now.

The highlighted part confuses me. Should not it be "would not have minded"? The reason behind such thinking of mine is it isn't that our guide has not minded. Our guide minded, but later we were able to pacify him. Should not the phrase be "would not have minded"?

  • It sounds to me like he means in the future, or from here on out, he wouldn't mind if you did actually waste his time. I presume he means by coming and asking him questions about the project.
    – Jim
    Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 5:23
  • @Jim, If the case is from "now-on" or "in the future", did he use "did" in "...you did actually waste my time"? In my interpretation then the sentence could be "I really wouldn't mind if you actually waste my time (in future)".
    – Mistu4u
    Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 7:41

2 Answers 2


The question asks whether the guide's remark, “I really wouldn't mind if you did actually waste my time”, should instead be “I really would not have minded if you [wasted] my time”.

It certainly is possible that that's what the guide meant, but the alternative that Jim mentioned in a comment (that the guide would not mind if you go and ask him questions) also is a possibility.

[Note, perhaps you use the term “project guide” because it appears in some project outline; but if not, consider using “project advisor” instead, which at least in the U.S. is both more common and more easily understood. Also, rather than always saying “the guide” or “the advisor”, you should more frequently say “our guide” or “our advisor”.]

It is unlikely that the quoted paragraph was carefully written. That is, it looks like a rapidly-composed message, that may or may not accurately express what the writer (your advisor) meant to say. As such, it is open to multiple interpretations – one of which is given in the following paragraph – and the only way to be certain what is meant is to ask the advisor himself. However, the general tenor seems clear; precisely what the paragraph means may be unimportant.

Note, it seems unlikely the advisor actually wants to have his time wasted. He probably means he won't mind if you take up some of his time, and he is encouraging you to do so. The sentence “It's your time and project completion that is at stake” expresses his wish that you do what needs to be done to complete the project, and he will make time available to help advance the project.

  • The confusion to Jim's interpretation, I have commented above. And regarding the term "project-guide",yeah you are right, it is given in our project-outline.
    – Mistu4u
    Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 7:45

As I read it

...and I really would not mind if you did actually waste my time.

is just a statement of his opinion on the matter, in general. It does not specifically imply past, present or future.

The other option,

...and I really would not have minded if you did actually waste my time.

refers to the past (up to the present). Who knows, his attitude may change next week, and then just tell them to be more responsible for their actions.

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