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As I check it up in the dictionary, both carry the meaning of "bring". Is there any difference between the two words? Or they can just replace each other under any circumstance?

marked as duplicate by Em1, Hubert Schölnast, jarnbjo, Jan, peterh Feb 3 '17 at 18:08

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There is a difference.


Maria and Robert are sitting at the table, eating. There is no salt on the table, but Maria wants some. She asks Robert, to go into the kitchen and bring some salt:

Ger: Robert, kannst du bitte in die Küche gehen, und mir das Salz bringen?
Eng: Robert, please can you go to the kitchen and bring some salt?

Here, in this example you can not use »mitbringen«. Only »bringen« is possible here.

You can use »mitbringen« only if the person, who brings something, was already there where they come from. So they come anyway, and, as a side-effect, they also bring something.

The prefix mit- has always the meaning of co-, i.e. in addition to something else. So it's some kind of "cobringing". The person is comming anyway, and co-brings something. So, bringing is in addition to coming.

If somebody is going to another place for the only purpose to bring something from there, then it is just »bringen«. This person is not coming from there anyway, so bringing is not done in addition to something else. So it's not co-bringing, but just bringing.


In a command for an animal, e. g. dog or elephant, mitbringen cannot be used seriously, but bringen.

Bring [mir den] Stock!
(Bring [me the] stick!)
Bring den Baumstamm nach Bombay!
(Carry the tree-trunk to Bombay!)

This is a special nogo case for mitbringen. In general bringen means

  • transporting from location A to location B OR
  • transporting from location A to one or more persons (or animals)

whereas mitbringen usually means

  • transporting from location A to one or more persons (or animals)

Sample with mitbringen:

Die Löwin bringt ihren Jungen Beute mit.
(The lioness brings prey with her for her babies.)

Need another sample with bringen? Omit mit!

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