14

Here is in the textbook.

If someone says Would you mind buying me a drink? to you, then you should answer:

— Not at all (Yes, I can buy you a drink)
— I’m sorry I can’t (No, I can't buy you a drink)

Can I say Yes, I would which means Yes, I would mind buying you a drink?

  • 5
    In my opinion Yes I would would always express a certain level of hostility or at least annoyance. If it's not said to a friend and in a joking context it will be perceived as more or less as rude as -Do you know what time is it ? -Yes, I do. – SantiBailors Dec 14 '15 at 10:13
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    Agreed with @SantiBailors. If you say "Yes, I would," you're clearly answering that you do not want to buy them a drink. But it comes across as aggressive and rude. This could be a good response, though, if it's a situation where you want to immediately shut down the conversation. – Daniel Dec 14 '15 at 15:11
  • @Daniel: It's not actually all that clear, since it can be difficult to tell whether the answer is meant to apply to the question as stated or to some mentally-rewritten form, such as "Would you buy me a drink?". "Yes, I would mind." would be clearer. – SamB Dec 14 '15 at 18:09
  • @SamB "Yes I would (buy you a drink)" seems like a far-fetched interpretation. It suggests that there is some condition that needs to be fulfilled before I would buy you a drink. If no condition is specified, then the sentence doesn't make much sense. – Daniel Dec 14 '15 at 18:11
14

I think there is a scene with Humphrey Bogart where this exchange takes place:

Blonde: Would you mind buying me a drink?
Bogart: Why, yes I would (he says as he turns towards her and stares into her eyes)

Answering with yes I would will usually result in some further conversation since there is some ambiguity in the answer. Those additional conversations are sometimes best avoided.

The best way to refuse, is simply to say:

Sorry, I can't (and look the other way)

which implies you won't buy the other person a drink, but does not directly refuse them.

ADDITION: Of course if someone highly attractive to you asked, you could respond with :

Them: Would you mind buying me a drink?
You: I don't know. Would you mind if I bought you a drink? (emphasis on first you and smile)

and the conversation will take its natural course...

  • 2
    I suddenly realise why there is no 'dating.stackexchange'. – Pharap Dec 15 '15 at 2:52
  • Because all the questions have been answered?? – Peter Dec 15 '15 at 2:54
  • Because one person's "gold" is another person's "cheese". – Pharap Dec 15 '15 at 2:57
13

It's a common English language twist. Even in my own family someone might say:

Would you mind taking out the trash?

Which if you say "Yes", can mean either:

  • "Yes, I'll take out the trash."
  • "Yes, I would mind taking out the trash."

So what people do when hit with the "would you mind..." question is to answer it completely.

  • "No problem, I need to go outside and check the mail anyway."
  • "I'd love to, but I'm waiting for a phone call so I can't do it right now."

In either case, you answer it fully and don't leave any room for doubt. So specifically for this:

Would you mind buying me a drink?

I would answer it with:

  • "I'll buy a pretty girl a drink any time."
  • "I'd love to, but my wife probably wouldn't like it very much."
  • I always made a point of answering "would you mind" questions completely to avoid ambiguity, now it's just second nature. – Jason C Dec 14 '15 at 6:50
3

You can say "Yes, I would" - whether it is interpreted as willingness to buy a drink or not will be determined by the context and your tone, and your relationship with the person asking.

Often, if you simply respond "yes", people will clarify whether you mean you mind doing something or not.

If you actually say "I would", though, it is more likely to be interpreted as unwillingness to buy a drink. The reason for this is that you are reiterating your thoughts, and essentially you are saying "Yes, I would mind" rather than "yes" (I agree with your proposal).

  • 1
    But is that polite? & are there many people say like that? – Tom Dec 14 '15 at 2:27
  • Yes, it's polite. Yes, plenty of people say and understand this. – jimsug Dec 14 '15 at 2:46
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    @jimsug Somehow I don't think that's polite. I am sorry! or anything similar seems polite. Agree with your second part, plenty of people say this. – Sнаđошƒаӽ Dec 14 '15 at 3:00
  • Okay, that's fine. As a native speaker of Australian English, I'm saying that it is perfectly polite to say yes to a question like this - assuming that your tone is polite, of course. – jimsug Dec 14 '15 at 3:05
1

In English, people tend to answer the underlying positive question, which in this case is

Can you buy me a drink?

So if you want to positively respond, you could say "yes".

Questions that are negatively phrased in some manner are confuse even native speakers. I have heard the "Did you mean 'Yes, I will' or 'No, I will not'?" discussion many many times.

  • I understand 'Can you ...' to mean 'are you able to ...'. Answering with 'Yes' means 'I am able to' but with no undertaking to actually to do it. For most people, I think the implicit request would be understood but using 'Would you ...' is less easily misunderstood. As you say, adding the negative really complicates the request! I would say that 'Would you mind...' is an attempt to be polite and less demanding. – paul Dec 14 '15 at 8:33
  • Personally, I would tend to feel that the "Can you ..." version was rude, if asked by a stranger. (What business is it of theirs whether or not I can?) But that might have something to do with the line(s) of questioning/thinking my sister tends to use when she wants me to play a game with her ... – SamB Dec 14 '15 at 18:26
  • @paul good point. I suppose the true underlying question is, "I want you to buy me a drink, will you do it" – Senjougahara Hitagi Dec 14 '15 at 22:29

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