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I have heard the following dialogue in the German TV series "How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast)":

Boy: Du hast ja noch meine Gehirnzelle.

Girl: Klar. Die war sogar mit in Amerika.

Context: a German young couple has decided to take a break after the girl's return from US. Now, they have met again and are talking about a gift the boy has given to the girl in the past: a stuffed brain cell.

I assume the girl meant "mit mir" in the last sentence of the above dialogue. Is that right? Is omitting the (direct/indirect) object like that usual in spoken German?

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    Note that mit mir wouldn't be an object but an adverbial. Even if it was, it would be neither a 'direct' nor an 'indirect' object but a Präpositionalobjekt. The classification direct/indirect as known from other languages doesn't suit German really well. – amadeusamadeus Oct 5 '20 at 22:43
  • mit can be replaced with dabei, as in Die war sogar in Amerika dabei. Similar: Ich war mit in Quarantäne and Ich war dabei. But none of those work with your theory. – AmigoJack Oct 14 '20 at 22:07
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The word "mit" can be used as an adverb in the sense of "together with somebody else" or "together with others" where it is implicitly clear who the other person(s) is/are: https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/mit_neben_damit

The meaning is the same as the prefix "mit" in verbs like mitkommen, mitlaufen, mitgehen, mitspielen.

Other examples:

Sie wollte nicht mit zu den Nachbarn herübergehen.
Sie fuhren alle zusammen nach München, sogar der Hund verreiste mit.

This adverbial use of "mit" is also possible with "sein", although I'm not sure if it can be called an adverb in the strict sense in that case.

Ist er mit in Paris?
Das Stofftier war mit in Amerika.

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  • I don't understand the examples. For instance, "Sie wollte nicht mit zu den Nachbarn herübergehen" = "She didn't want to go over to the neighbors with me"? Or with us? Or with him? Or with them? Would that information have been made clear previously in a real context? – Alan Evangelista Oct 15 '20 at 1:41
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    Yes, it could mean any of those. if "mit" is used in this way, it doesn't say anything about with whom. This needs to be derived from context, which is missing in the example. I tried to convey that in the first sentence by "where it is implicitly clear who the other person(s) is/are". – HalvarF Oct 15 '20 at 10:21
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    Thank you very much for clarifying it. IMHO the examples would be clearer if they were presented with contexts which make clear to whom "mit" refers to. Example: Unsere Eltern werden bei unseren Nachbarn zu Abend essen. Meine Schwester will nicht mit zu den Nachbarn herubergehen. – Alan Evangelista Oct 25 '20 at 21:48
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I assume the girl meant "mit mir" in the last sentence of the above dialogue. Is that right?

No, I don't think that's right.

While this would result in a grammatically correct sentence, it has a slightly different meaning:

Die war sogar mit mir in Amerika.

This indicates the brain cell joined the speaker on their trip to America. However, this information is not contained in the German sentence:

Die war sogar mit in Amerika.

This just expresses the brain cell joined someone on their trip to America. While it probably was the speaker in this particular situation, the sentence could also be used to indicate the brain cell was taken to America by the speaker's brother, neighbour, you name it.

If you want to expand it to a "more complete" sentence, the correct expansion would probably be:

Die war sogar mit dabei in Amerika.

Here, it becomes more obvious that the only information we get is that someone was accompanied, not who that someone was.

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  • Thank you for the answer! In the context of the German TV series episode I mentioned in my question, it is clear that the girl meant "mit mir". I don't understand why she chooses to say "die war sogar mit in Amerika" and use "mit" in this vague and context-dependent construct, instead of using the more precise and explicit one ("mit mir"). Based on other examples (e.g. ich kann Deutsch), it seems to me it is idiomatic in German to omit words in certain contexts, making sentences more context-dependent. – Alan Evangelista Oct 25 '20 at 21:54
  • @AlanEvangelista: Maybe the focus is meant to lie on the fact that it has gone through a trip to the U.S. at all, rather than that that trip was with the speaker, even though the latter may be undoubtedly true. – O. R. Mapper Oct 25 '20 at 22:15
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I assume the girl meant "mit mir"

That's correct. In German we sometimes save a few words when the context is clear.

It's a bit like the following conversation:

  • Person 1: I've been to Germany in my holidays.
  • Person 2: Me, too!

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