For everyday conversations in German-speaking countries it’s important to know how to say “with” (“mit“). For example, if you’d like to order coffee with milk, you’d order “Kaffee mit Milch” in German.
The German word for “with”
The German word for “with” is “mit“. It’s a crucial word to know, and luckily it’s also easy to remember.
The word “mit” is used in quite similar contexts as the word “with” is used in English:
Ich gehe mit Hannes ins Kino.
I’m going to the cinema with Hannes.
Das kleine Mädchen mag Eis mit Streuseln.
The little girl likes ice-cream with crumbles.
“Mit” as prefix in verbs
The word “mit” is often used as prefix in German verbs:
- mitnehmen – to take along
- mitmachen – to take part
- (mit jemandem) mitfühlen – to feel with somebody
- mittragen – to go along with something
- mitbringen – to bring something along
- mitbekommen – to notice
- mitschreiben – to write along (as someone is talking)
- mitdenken – to think along
- (etwas) mitteilen – to let someone know something
- mitkommen – to come with someone
- mitreden – to have a say
Those are the most common verbs with “mit” as prefix. When used in the present tense, the prefix is split from the rest of the verb and placed at the end of the sentence:
Sie macht mit.
She’s taking part.
Jana bringt Limonade mit.
Jana is bringing lemonade along.
Informal verbs with the prefix “mit”
There are two verbs with the prefix “mit” that are commonly used in conversations, but cannot be used in formal writing, as their use is quite colloquial.
Those verbs are:
- mithaben – to have with you / to have on you
- mitkriegen – to notice
You’ve probably noticed that “mitkriegen” is a synonym of “mitbekommen“ – both verbs have the same meaning! In conversations, “mitkriegen” is more commonly used, but in formal writing, you should always use “mitbekommen“.
The use of the verbs “mithaben” and “mitkriegen” follows the same rules as the other verbs with “mit“:
Ich habe Kekse mit.
I have cookies on me.
Thomas kriegt mit, dass du ihn nicht magst.
Thomas is noticing that you don’t like him.
Adding “mit” to German verbs
Generally speaking, you can add “mit” to a verb whenever you want to emphasize that you are participating in a certain activity:
Ich baue das Haus mit auf!
I am participating in building the house!
In this sentence, the speaker wants to stress that they are part of the building process of the house. The word “mit” indicates that they are not the only one building the house, but most likely part of a team or a larger group.
The prefix “mit” has been added to the verb “aufbauen“: The new verb is “mitaufbauen“.
Let’s have a look at another example:
Dieter kocht heute mit.
Dieter is joining in to cook today.
Here, the speaker would like to inform the listener that Dieter is joining the meal preparation today. In this case, “mit” has been added to “kochen” to form a new verb, “mitkochen“.
Can you form some simple sentences that use the word “mit” to indicate that someone is participating in an activity?
German nouns with the prefix “mit“
There are also some German nouns with the prefix “mit“:
- der Mitarbeiter / die Mitarbeiterin – the employee
- das Mitleid – pity
- das Mitgefühl – empathy
- die Mitschuld – complicity
- der Mitbewohner / die Mitbewohnerin – the housemate
- der Mitbürger / die Mitbürgerin – the fellow citizen
- das Mitglied – the member
- der Mitgründer / die Mitgründerin – the co-founder
- die Mithilfe – assistance
- der Mitläufer / die Mitläuferin – the follower
- der Mitschüler / die Mitschülerin – the classmate
You’re probably noticing that the nouns describing persons each have a masculine and a feminine variation – if you’re not familiar with this phenomenon yet, why not learn more about masculine and feminine nouns in German?
Going to a party
Let’s close off this lesson with a sample conversation. Marie and Darja are talking about an upcoming party:
Hi, kommst du morgen mit zur Party?
Ja. Ich bringe Süßigkeiten mit.
Cool. Sind die Süßigkeiten mit Gelatine?
Nein, sie sind vegan.
Super! Bis morgen.
If you’re not yet familiar with some of the vocabulary in sample conversations, why not look them up and note them down?