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I recently heard, 如果你不介意 (literally: "if you do not mind."). Is the literal translation from English also a correct, native one? Or is there a more common way to prefix such a question?

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Where did you hear it? You mean the Chinese version is a translation from English? –  fefe Nov 27 '12 at 9:50
2  
This is one of the phrases that maps almost exactly to the English counterpart and is idiomatic. –  deutschZuid Nov 27 '12 at 20:53
    
@ash consider accepting an answer? –  Growler Nov 28 '12 at 13:58
    
@Growler, yes, in time. –  ash Nov 29 '12 at 5:54

5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Only very very polite person would say "如果你不介意 (if you don't mind)", probably this person is very well educated which is rare in China (school/parents simply never teach you this phrase). But interestingly, from my experience I sometimes speak this kind of language to my close friends, to make fun of him/her, in this context, when I say "如果你不介意", what I really mean is that you have to do whatever I am asking for...

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What's a more colloquial way to say it? –  ash Nov 28 '12 at 19:33
    
how about "可不可以" –  baboonWorksFine Nov 29 '12 at 17:50

I don't feel it is a native expression in Chinese. It probably is influenced from the western culture. On rare occasions I hear people use it, but it still feels strange as an oral phrase.

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I do not feel it strange, although I would add "的话" at the end. –  fefe Dec 8 '12 at 11:47

如果您能迁就的话... 如果您不嫌弃的话... 您能将就的话...

Usually we don't say '如果' in oral Chinese for this case.

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I've spent some time in both Taiwan and the Mainland. From my experience, I've heard:

在乎 zai4 hu
在意 zai4 yi4
管 guan3 - More Mainland style... "我不管!"
无所谓 wu2 suo3 wei4 - A really popular phrase to show that you don't really care/mind
随便 sui3 bian4 - kind of like "eh, whatever... I don't care".. Also quite popular

But I've also heard 介意

And if you're looking for that native, colloquial flavor, you can throw in 的话 at the end of 如果, which is just an extension of "if".

如果你不在乎的话,我要去做什么什么...

And what do you mean by "Is there a more common way to prefix such a question?"?

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如果你不在乎 is totally different. 在乎 means to care about/have sincere interest in something. It's used in serious conversations rather than a polite ask. –  NS.X. Dec 6 '12 at 7:36
    
@NS.X. Ah. I thought they were using casually as such when I was in Taiwan. Perhaps I misunderstood the tone of some of the conversations. Thanks for the comment :D –  Growler Dec 6 '12 at 13:53

As far as I know, it's the most common way in the area I'm from. In fact, I've never heard anyone phrase it differently.

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Ewin, where are you from? –  Stumpy Joe Pete Nov 27 '12 at 23:06

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