5

In this time of the year we get a lot of e-mails informing us about an online order that is being processed.

One recent example was as follows

Ihre Amazon.de-Bestellung mit "_______..." wurde versandt!

The blank underline is the name of the product I had ordered. In this context the use of mit appears awkward to me. Duden does not list examples using mit.

Is this a translation error, just a sloppy serial mail header, or is it me who is wrong and the use of mit would be correct?

Here's a screenshot for sceptics:

enter image description here


Bevor jemand meckert: ich habe die Frage bewußt auf Englisch gestellt, weil die Antwort eher von internationalem Interesse ist und auch, weil der Fehler ein Anglizismus sein könnte

  • @ChristianGeiselmann In my case it always was the name of the product (not the order number!), today "Tenda P1001P KIT AV1000." – Takkat Dec 19 '18 at 10:30
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    You actually seem to be barking up a wrong tree. I just browsed through lots of Amazon.de e-mails and couldn't find a single one using "mit". – tofro Dec 19 '18 at 11:32
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    @tofro: should I accuse Amazon for doing that with my account only? See screenshot in my edit (I do not order too much with Amazon, therefore I only have three mails from December) – Takkat Dec 19 '18 at 12:03
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    One could read this as short for "*Ihre Bestellung mit folgendem Inhalt: [follows a list of items] wurde bearbeitet, und das Paket ist nun unterwegs zu Ihnen." – Christian Geiselmann Dec 19 '18 at 13:59
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    My gut feeling tells me that there should be a genitive following »Bestellung«, without a preposition, but it also tells me that that wouldn't work very well with numbers or proper names ... – Raketenolli Dec 20 '18 at 12:43
8

The Duden examples show us Bestellung von, über and auf. I'm inclined to agree that these are the preferred prepositions to express the indivdual products in an order. To me, Bestellung mit implies that you are either a) not listing all of the order's contents or b) mentioning an addition or modification to that order.

  • or c) mentioning an order that you placed together with another client (but then the name of the client, not the product, would follow the "mit"). – henning -- reinstate Monica Dec 20 '18 at 9:23
5

I always understood this a little differently. If I order A and B on Amazon, I get an email that says the following:

Ihre Bestellung mit A wurde versandt.

They don't list all the articles contained in that order in the subject. Basically it means something like:

Ihre Bestellung, die unter anderem A enthält, wurde versandt.

I think in this context mit makes it a little ambigous but is not wrong.

  • 1
    They may have been too lazy to adapt this for orders containing only one article? – Takkat Dec 19 '18 at 15:14
  • @Takkat probably :) – André Stannek Dec 19 '18 at 16:00
  • Programmers are notoriously lazy to care about corner cases. – Janka Dec 19 '18 at 16:46
3

This is indeed a somewhat awkward use of Bestellung.

Bestellung usually means

1) The act of ordering something

2) The list of things that were ordered

However, in the sentence

Ihre Bestellung mit 50 Mausefallen wurde versandt.

neither of the two applies. The author of that sentence obviously uses Bestellung in a third way, namely

3) Contents of the shipment / the things themselves that were ordered

This is a metonymical use of Bestellung: the word is used not for what it is originally intended, but to name a thing somehow closely related to that original meaning. In the concrete case, there is a leap from "the list of things" to "the things themselves". This is of in principle legitimate, especially in poetry. Also between Meaning (1) and (2) there is a metonymical relationship: from "act of ordering" to "the list of things ordered".

I suppose that this is rather a result of lazyness or sloppyness on the side of the people working for those delivery services, not an effect of their love for rhetoric figures (or knowledge of them).

Now, if you accept the use of Bestellung with meaning (3) as "the items that were ordered", then the use of mit seems more or less an acceptable solution. I would not know what preposition to use instead.

? Ihre Bestellung von 50 Mausefallen wurde versandt.

? Ihre Bestellung über 50 Mausefallen wurde versandt.

? Ihre Bestellung auf 50 Mausefallen wurde versandt.

All these are a bit awkward, although not completely impossible.

A stylistically clean way to say it would be:

Sie haben bei uns 50 Mausefallen bestellt. Wir haben die Bestellung bearbeitet, und das Paket ist jetzt unterwegs zu Ihnen.

This avoids unusual metonymies (Bestellung is used here in Meaning 2, which is a metonymy, but I think this is so established usage that it does not hurt anymore), and verbs refer to subjects that totally fit the standard: a parcel can be on the way, an order can be executed.

1

The correct expressions is „eine Bestellung über 50 Scheren“ and means “an order of 50 scissors” in this context.

1

I feel like "Bestellung von" could be misunderstood in a way that in "Bestellung von X" the X could be the item or the buyers or sellers name (even though in that context it would be very unlikely).

"Bestellung über" sounds really awkward if you don't have a number in front of the items name, e.g. "Bestellung über 20 Pizzen" or "Bestellung über 2 Autos".

"Bestellung von" would be a better solution than the above mentioned, but is (as far as I experienced) often used in rather unspecified orders like "Bestellung von Ware" or "Bestellung von Essen".

Amazons versions seems the most natural to me as a german, even though the Duden says otherwise. Also if the order or shipment contains more than the listed item it would make sense.

  • Die Anführungsstriche sind auch misslungen. Ihre Bestellung "10 Glühlampen" ist unterwegs - das würde ich noch gelten lassen. "Mit" könnte heißen, dass dass das der erste/teuerste Posten der Sendung ist und stur auch dann benutzt wird, wenn es überhaupt nur einen Posten gibt. – user unknown Dec 20 '18 at 2:35

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