For example, what does the sentence: “Ich musste es immer und immer wieder mit ansehen.” Is there a difference between these two: “Mit ansehen” and «mitansehen”?

2 Answers 2


There is a difference between mit ansehen and mitansehen, but it seems that even native speakers, and also translators, find it difficult to distinguish these correctly.

The phrase mit ansehen means to watch something together with others, and the stress is on mit. It doesn't matter if this is done forcefully or voluntarily:

  • Kommst du den Film mit ansehen?
    (Do you want to join us watching the movie?)

The compound verb mitansehen means watching in the sense of witnessing, and the stress in on the syllable an. Here, it doesn't matter if this is done alone or together with others:

  • Sie musste die grausame Tat mitansehen.
    (She had to witness the crual deed.)

So, the English sentence "I had to watch it over and over again" can be interpreted in two difference ways in German: you watch something again and again with others (mit ansehen) or you witness something again and again (mitansehen).

  • Ich musste es immer und immer wieder mit ansehen.
  • Ich musste es immer und immer wieder mitansehen.
  • "the stress in on the letter a." Better: the stress in on the syllable an.
    – mic
    Oct 28, 2019 at 15:04
  • @mic, thank you. Oct 28, 2019 at 16:03
  • Und wenn man etwas nur ansieht, nicht mitansieht, dann ist man kein Zeuge? Oct 28, 2019 at 23:13

It means that you are forced to notice something that you don't want to notice, or that something happens (to you or someone you care about) and you can't do anything about it, except watching.

I wouldn't write the words "mit ansehen" together.

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