Learn English Article 118
Sound More English When You Speak Your Mind
The Podcast Series ARTICLES
English language often uses a one word in many ways depending upon the context of the conversation. Sometimes the difference can mean being very polite to being rude enough to start a fight!
So as usual you may know 50% of the English language just by learning the most common 100 words, however its super important to understand the many uses of any particular word.
As always this English language transcript supports the learn English audio podcast available on Spotify, iTunes, Android Play, Blubrry, PlayerFM.
Hi there, I’m Hilary and this is the latest podcast from Adept English. We are ‘regular as clockwork’ every Monday – you have a new podcast to download to your phone or tablet, then you can continue your English language learning – and every Thursday also a short podcast. And what does ‘regular as clockwork mean’? Well, ‘regular’ means it’s always the same and ‘clockwork’ means it’s like the mechanism, the workings inside a clock. So every Monday and every Thursday – a new podcast from Adept English.
So today I’m going to give you some phrases to use, which will make you sound very English. They’re quite nice and short, so perhaps you can start to use them straight away. And they’re all using the same verb, but with different meanings. And that verb is ‘to mind’.
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Mind is a set of cognitive faculties including perception, consciousness and thinking
Now when I say the word mind, M-I-N-D, you may have come across this word as a noun. Your mind is the psychological part of you. It’s not exactly the same as your brain. Your brain means the physical matter inside your head whereas your mind means your way of thinking, what you feel, the way you see things. But in this podcast we’re talking about the word mind as a verb – ‘to mind’. And even here, be careful – as there’s more than one meaning of this verb. If you look after someone’s children, if you take care of the kids while the parents are out, you could say that you are ‘minding them’. ‘Can you mind my children?’ or even ‘Can you mind my dog?’ means ‘Can you look after them, when I’m not here?’. So in the UK, we use the phrase ‘child minder’ for someone, like a nanny, who looks after children that are not their own children. In US English, they would be more likely to ask someone ‘Can you watch the kids for me?’ But in the UK, we say ‘mind’ for this. You might be on a train and someone asks you ‘Can you mind my bag for a minute?’ They mean ‘Can just take care of my my bag for a minute, while I’m gone?’
An English Way To Be Polite And Let The Other Person Choose What Should Happen
But let’s come to the more common use of the verb ‘to mind’ – and this is the one to learn to sound very English. If your friends are deciding which restaurant to eat at – and they ask you, ‘Where do you want to go? What sort of restaurant do you want to eat in?’ You might reply ‘I don’t mind’. This means ‘I don’t have a strong feeling. I’m happy whichever restaurant you choose. I’ll agree.’ I don’t mind. I’m easy – you choose! So a slightly different phrase ‘I don’t mind’. I don’t mind which one you choose. I eat anything. Italian, French, Lebanese, Thai!’
An English Way Of Showing That The Issue Was Not That Important
Have you heard the English phrase ‘Never mind’? So [another] slightly different use of the verb…..
And it’s easier to give you an example to show what this means. If you are at a market stall, which sells fruit and you ask ‘Do you have any red apples?’ And the person selling the fruit, the stall-holder replies, ‘No, I’m sorry, we’ve only got green apples today’. You might reply ‘Oh, never mind!’.
So what ‘never mind’ means in this context is ‘It doesn’t matter, it’s not important, don’t worry about it’. ‘Never mind’.
It’s one of those phrases which isn’t entirely literal. ‘To mind’ is a verb in this context – and if you mind about something, it means that you don’t like it, you’re bothered by it, you’re upset about it. So if you say to someone ‘Never mind’ - it means don’t worry about it, forget about it. It would be more logical if the phrase was ‘Don’t mind’. But English is not always logical, as I’m sure you know. So we say ‘Never mind’ for some reason. Don’t ask me why – it’s just that’s what we say!
So, if your child comes out of school and says ‘Those boys laughed at my shoes’, you might say ‘Never mind!’. If you burn your dinner, when you’re cooking it in the oven - ‘Never mind! Let’s order out’ If the market stall only has green apples and you would really like to have red - ‘Never mind!’. Sometimes ‘Never mind’ can be used as a way of not answering a question. If your teenage son is all angry and leaving the house ‘in a strop’ as we say, you might ask ‘Where are you going now?’ And he might reply ‘Never mind!’ - meaning ‘I don’t want to tell you.
The Difference A Simple Word “You” Can Make!
And if someone says to you ‘Never you mind’ - that’s a bit more like ‘fighting talk’. They’re saying ‘I’m not going to tell you that information’. It’s a bit like if someone says to you ‘Mind your own business!’ That tends to mean they think you’re being rude. You’ve asked too much. ‘Mind your own business’ is like a warning phrase. If you carry on, they might get quite angry with you!
Another way in which the phrase ‘Never mind’ is used. You could say something like ‘This is one of the best restaurants in England, never mind London’. So what you’re really saying here is that the restaurant is not just one of the best in London, it’s one of the best in the whole of England. Or you could say Harry Kane is one of the best football players in the world, never mind England (just thinking ahead to the World Cup there!). Or you might say ‘I didn’t think that you would even get out of bed, never mind tidy your bedroom and bake a cake!’
There Are Many More 'Mind' Related Phrases These Are Some Of The Most Popular Ones
So to summarise, different uses of the word ‘mind’:-
‘Your mind’ is the psychological part of you.
The verb ‘to mind’ can be used to mean looking after children, animals, bags, houses, luggage etc.
I don’t mind – means – I can’t make a decision! You choose.
Never mind – can mean ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter.’ No worries.
Never mind – can mean ‘I refuse to tell you!’ - a bit like ‘Mind your own business!’
And finally, you can use ‘never mind’ when you are comparing two situations, one which is more extreme than the other. So you might say ‘Until my father found Adept English, he could barely understand English, never mind speak it. But now he’s really improving’.
And if your dad or your mum doesn’t know about Adept English, then tell him or her all about us! The more, the merrier as we say! Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
We have lots of other tips on learning to speak English here.
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