Archive for June 6, 2011

the difference between words: don’t mind and don’t care

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Many of my students have asked me to explain the difference between “don’t mind” and “don’t care”, so I will do that today. We can often use “don’t mind” and “don’t care” in the same situations, but “don’t mind” sounds much softer than “don’t care”. For example:

I don’t mind which restaurant we go to. It’s up to you.

I don’t care which restaurant we go to. It’s up to you.

I don’t mind if Jeff comes to the party.

I don’t care if Jeff comes to the party.

I don’t mind if you smoke. Please go ahead.

I don’t care if you smoke. Please go ahead.

Peter made a joke about my weight, but I don’t mind.

Peter made a joke about my weight, but I don’t care.

In these situations, “don’t mind” sounds very polite and gentle. It’s like the person is saying “It’s ok with me.”; however, “don’t care” sounds stronger and it’s like the person is saying, “It doesn’t matter to me”.

In addition, we can use “don’t care” in ways that we cannot use “don’t mind”. In these cases, it means there is a lack of interest in something or someone. For example:

I don’t care about Hollywood celebrities. I’m not interested in their lives at all.

My girlfriend doesn’t care about me anymore. Last night, she broke up with me.

That restaurant obviously doesn’t care about the quality of their food. Everything we ordered tasted terrible.

As you can see from my examples, we always use the preposition “about” after “care” in these situations.

Today is my 400th blog entry for English Help Online! I have now been writing the English Help Online blog for over a year and three months. I would like to thank my readers for all your questions and kind comments. I hope I can continue to help you with your English studies! If you know someone who wants or needs to study English, please tell them about my blog.

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