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I want to ask some colleges if I should bring them something from supermarket.

Should I use bringen or mitbringen? And why?

This is my attempt (improvements are welcome):

Ich gehe zum Aldi, soll ich euch etwas [mit]bringen?

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Mitbringen, absolutely. –  chirlu Oct 30 '13 at 14:06
    
Ok, thanks. Can you please tell me why? What's the difference? In the dictionary(pons.de) the are the almost the same. –  mxlian Oct 30 '13 at 14:11
    
Have a look at the Duden pages: bringen vs. mitbringen. –  Baz Oct 30 '13 at 14:35

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Very helpful for this are both the English and German Wiktionary site.

mitbringen: (1) etwas bei sich führen, um es da, wo man hinkommt, weiterzugeben

mitbringen: (1) to bring along, to bring with

The German Wiktionary page also shows an example similar to yours:

Würdest du mir bitte etwas aus der Stadt mitbringen?

In comparison, looking up bringen shows that it's more general and does not carry the meaning you intend to say.

bringen: einen Gegenstand von einem an einen anderen Ort bewegen

Thus, if you bring something from A to B you say:

Ich bringe etwas vom Aldi nach Hause.

But if your intend is to hand over what you're taking with you, you say:

Ich bringe dir etwas vom Aldi mit.

However, you can also say:

Ich bringe dir etwas.

This does not carry the meaning of taking something along with you. The difference is whether or not you will go in any case, disregarding if you will take something along for someone else.

Situation 1:
Ich gehe zum Aldi. Soll ich euch etwas mitbringen?

Situation 2:
A: Wo ist meine Brille, ich kann sie nicht finden?
B: Deine Brille ist hier. Warte, ich bringe sie dir.

In situation 1 you will go to ALDI for sure. In situation 2 you just move in order to hand something over to someone.

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