Modals part 6

Skill: Grammar  

Category: General English & Academic English

Level: Upper-Intermediate

Modals

Part Six

Using “Would You Mind” to express a polite request

Asking Permission:

Use would you mind with simple past tense to ask for permission in a polite request.

a) Would you mind if I turned off the TV?

b) Would you mind if I spoke with a higher speed?

The first sentence means: Is it all right if I turn off the TV? Will it cause you any discomfort if I turn off the TV?

Note: Sometimes in informal English, it is possible to use simple present tense after would you mind.

Ex: Would you mind if I turn off the TV?

Responses:

The usual response for this structure is “no” because “yes” means Yes, it is a problem for me if you turn off the TV. Moreover, the following phrases are typically used.

No, not at all.

No, of course not

No, that would be fine.

Asking someone to do something:

Would you mind is also possibly followed by a gerund (ing form of the verb)

Ex: Would you mind closing the door because it is could outside?

This sentence means that I personally don’t want to cause you any trouble, but would you please close the door.

Typical Responses:

No, not at all.

No, I would be happy to.

No, I would be glad to.

Informal responses:

Sure

Ok

No problem

Exercise. Make sentences with would you mind in both forms, gerund and simple past form.

  1. A. I want to open the door.

B. I want you to open the door.

  • A. I want to make dinner tonight.  

B. I want you to make dinner tonight.

  • A. I want to visit the doctor tomorrow.

B. I want you to visit the doctor tomorrow.

Expressing a repeated action in the past using WOULD

Would can express an action that was repeated regularly in the past. So when would is used with this idea, it has the same meaning as used to—habitual past. For this use, would is more common than used to. On the other hand, used to is used to express past situations or state.

Ex: When I was a child, my mother would tell me nice stories every night. (Repeated)

Ex: I used to live in Canada. (Past situation)

Exercise. Choose the correct sentence.

1-         a. Every year, I would visit my grandfather in California for 2 months.

            b. Every year, I used to visit my grandfather in California for 2 months.

2-         a. I used to speak English very well, but I have forgotten a lot of grammar and vocabulary.

            b. I would speak English very well, but I have forgotten a lot of grammar and vocabulary.

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