It was my first time to visit their house and when I arrived, they were busy in the kitchen. They asked me to wait for a moment. That was fine.
I asked them, “Do you mind if I sit down?”
They answered, “Yes.”
This confused me, because their answer means “Yes, I do mind!”, which means “You cannot sit down!”
Actually, they wanted to say that it was okay for me to sit down. So what happened? Why did they make this mistake?
Actually, questions using ‘do you mind …?‘ often confuse English students:
Let’s take a look:
do you mind = do you think it is a problem
“Do you mind if I sit down?” = “Do you think it is a problem if I sit down?”
“Yes, I mind (if you sit down)” = “Yes, it is a problem if you sit down.”
“No, I don’t mind (if you sit down)” = “No, it is not a problem if you sit down.”
So if someone asks:
Do you mind if I turn on the TV?
You should answer:
Yes, I do (this means DON’T turn on the TV)
No, I don’t (this means GO AHEAD and turn on the TV)
I explained this to my friend and he then said he didn’t mind if I sat down! I was happy!