The word ‘mind,’ like the word ‘settle,’ has many different meanings. Therefore it’s a good word to be comfortable with, as there are many different situations in which you can use it.  The first is as a noun, and it refers to the element of a person that allows them to think and to be aware of things. It’s an intangible thing that we contrast with the brain. There are some common expressions that utilize the word ‘mind,’ including:

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– Change your mind (to make one decision and then change it for another)
– Lose your mind (to go crazy)

‘Mind’ can also be used as a verb, and this is where things get a little more complicated. When used as a verb, it has several meanings. The first meaning of the verb ‘mind’ is ‘to be careful of.’ Of course, the most famous example that we have of this is the classic warning we see everywhere on the London underground, “Mind the gap!” If a very tall person is getting into a small car, we can say, “Mind your head.” When walking through a field, we can say, “Mind that hole over there.”  The main message in all of these examples is the same: be careful!

Another meaning of ‘mind’ is ‘to object to.’ This generally expresses the idea that something annoys or bothers us. It’s common to use the verb ‘mind’ in this way when requesting someone to do something. Let’s see some examples:

– Would you mind opening the window?
– Would you mind helping me move this piano?

We can also use it to ask if someone would object to us doing something. Notice the questions and possible answers:

– Do you mind if I smoke in here?
– Do you mind if I make a phone call?
– I don’t mind, no problem.
– Actually, I do mind.  Please don’t do that.

The verb ‘mind’ also means ‘to consider.’  For example, it’s typical to say to someone else, “Don’t mind me.”  Imagine that you are in the middle of class with one teacher, and another teacher walks in and sits down next to you!  The teacher who just walked in could say to the other one, “I’m only here to observe, don’t mind me.” 

Another meaning of ‘mind’ is ‘to look after.’  When you take care of something or somebody for a temporary period of time, you are minding it/them.  When you watch children to make sure they are okay and don’t hurt themselves, you are minding the children. Don’t worry, Mr. Spielberg, I’ll mind the camera while you’re in the bathroom! I’ll take care of it and make sure it’s ok.

The last meaning of the verb ‘mind’ is to say that you consider something important, or to be concerned about something. With this meaning, it’s often used in the negative. Note the following examples:

– Many people think this job is hard, but I don’t mind the long hours.
– I prefer fresh coffee, but I don’t mind instant.

Now that you’ve learned so much about the word ‘mind,’ practice with the exercises you find below!

A. Edstrom

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