I am just starting to learn German, but I have come across the adverb "fertig" which means to finish, and I have noticed that it is always accompanied by the preposition "mit". Is that a rule in the German language or this is an exception in the piece which I am reading which is:

Gerade als das kleine Schweinchen mit dem Hausbau fertig war und Blumen auf seinen schweren Holztisch stellte

  • 3
    "fertig" is no verb (see the heading of the question) and "fertig" does not mean "to finish".
    – IQV
    Feb 14, 2018 at 6:33
  • Yes, German adjectives take idiomatic prepositions just like verbs do. Being done with something is expressed as fertig + mit. There's no particular reason why we don't habitually use e.g. fertig + nach instad, we just don't. Feb 14, 2018 at 7:22

4 Answers 4


Mit+noun adds a topic, tool or companion to an adverbial phrase. These phrases don't translate into English very well:

Ich bin einverstanden.

I agree.

Ich bin mit dem Preis einverstanden.

I agree on the price.

Wir waren unterwegs.

We were travelling.

Wir waren mit dem Rad unterwegs.

We were travelling by bike.

Ich war mit meiner Frau mit dem Rad unterwegs.

I was travelling by bike, with my wife.

  • Good answer. Are “subjects” of adverbial phrases always added with “mit”?
    – Aaron
    May 7, 2019 at 17:59
  • No. The meaning of adverbials depends on the preposition. Ich bin einverstanden. is an adverbial/predicative phrase, and mit dem Preis is another adverbial describing it. You may use other prepositions+nouns, adverbs etc. for other meanings.
    – Janka
    May 7, 2019 at 19:14

The form you saw is "mit etwas fertig sein", to be done with something. Hence the "mit", just like in English.

Das Schweinchen war mit dem Hausbau fertig.

The pig was done building the house.

In this case the English would be better translated without a noun, hence you wouldn't use "with". But consider this example:

Das Schweinchen war mit der Arbeit fertig.

The pig was done with its work.


There plenty of uses for fertig that don't use mit. It can be used by itself or with other prepositions like für .

Das Haus ist fertig

  • 1
    Ich bin fertig (von der Arbeit). I'm done. Ich mach mich fertig für 's Kino. I get ready for the cinema. Ich mach ihn fertig. I'll beat him. Feb 14, 2018 at 0:20

I would characterize "fertig" as a "transitive," rather than "intransitive," word for "done" or "finished."

In a "transitive" situation, one is done with something, call it X. Then, an appropriate sentence might be, "Ich bin fertig mit X."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.