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I recently came across this statement to invite someone to dinner.

你介唔介意今晚同我食飯.

As this is my first time learning cantonese, I wanted to know what the nuance of 介意 is? Are there alternative statements in inviting someone to dinner?

In my mind, I would have said: 今晚不如同我食飯? Is this too aggressive and headstrong?

Thanks for your insights

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  1. Normally 介唔介意 is used in situations where you expect your action may cause mild displease to the listener.

    In the context of an invitation, you may cause mild displease to someone unfamiliar if they do not wish to dine with you. Conversely, you would not expect a good friend of yours to react negatively to your invitation, so 介唔介意 will sound awkward. 介唔介意 is a fairly polite way of invitation for new acquaintances / strangers.

    However, in the following example, it can also be applied to people dear to you as well, for the simple fact that we cannot always read others' minds:

    你介唔介意我開冷氣呀?我有啲熱。

    Do you mind if I turn on the air conditioner? I'm feeling a bit hot.

  2. Possible alternatives to 介唔介意 of similar extent of politeness are: 想唔想, 肯唔肯 (somewhat blunt), 願唔願意, 會唔會(想) etc. You can even use the expression 唔知+sentence+呢? as well for invitations, as in 唔知你願唔願意同我食飯呢?.

  3. Usually you expect an affirmative answer when using 不如 and 一於. You can soften the headstrong-ness by adding sentence final particles like ~囉 lo3 and ~啦 laa1.

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  • Thanks for your response. I am intrigued by this: 唔知你願唔願意同我食飯呢?It is longer than the rest. In what situations would this be useful? – cgo Apr 16 at 8:13
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    A courteous (perhaps a bit too courteous; somewhat old-fashioned) way of inviting new acquaintances to dinner. Less awkward than 介唔介意 to me (介唔介意 can at times be somewhat self-deprecating; or sarcastic when you want to mock others as being arrogant). – L Parker Apr 16 at 8:24
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介意 = 'mind' (v),

When you ask someone "你介唔介意 (do you mind) doing something", you are suggesting this something might inconvenience, trouble, or displease him or her.

"你介唔介意今晚同我食飯?" = "Do you mind having dinner with me tonight?"

It sounds less asserted. Implies having dinner with you is doing you a favor.

"今晚不如同我食飯" = "It is better to have dinner with me tonight"

It is not a proper sentence structure for requesting

You can use a requesting phrase like "好唔好" as in "今晚同我食飯好唔好?" to make it a proper request

Another way to make "今晚不如同我食飯" a request is to use a final particle.

Different final particle expresses different tone, emotion or meaning

Example:

"今晚不如同我食飯" -- 吖 (suggesting/ casual/ inviting)

"今晚不如同我食飯" -- 啦 (casual/ suggesting/ asserted)

There are many other ways to make an invitation. For example, '今晚一齊食飯好唔好?' or '今晚一齊食飯啦'

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