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A native German speaker told me that this sentence:

Ich habe Hans auf die Reise mitgenommen.

means, "I took Hans on the trip with me," but that this variation of that sentence:

Ich habe Hans auf der Reise mitgenommen.

means, "I picked Hans up on the trip;" i.e., he was not there at the beginning of the trip.

My reading of mitnehmen in Duden does not confirm to me this usage. Do you agree with this interpretation, and, if so, can you point me to documentation for that usage?

2 Answers 2

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The explanation is correct, I agree with the interpretation. Note the difference in the case of 'Reise' of Akkusativ vs. Dativ - that makes the whole difference:

Jemanden auf eine Reise mitnehmen

--> to take someone on a trip / to travel together with sb.
This usually means that the whole trip is done together. 'Reise' is in Akkusativ.

Jemanden oder etwas auf / während einer Reise mitnehmen

--> to pickup sb. or sth. during a trip 'Reise' is in Dativ case. This refers to something picked up during the trip (and not necessarily the rest of it either). It can mean you just picked up that person one day during travel and parted ways later.

As to a good reference explaining this difference... I sadly don't have any either. Note though, that the meaning of 'mitnehmen' is the same (approx. 'take along'), the main meaning (Hauptform) as noted in dwds. The difference is mostly in 'auf die Reise' (Akkusativ: for the whole trip) vs. 'auf der Reise' (Dativ: during the trip).

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    There is a rule of thumb in regard to describing locations. Unfortunately, I cannot give a definitive source, either. You use Akkusativ when moving towards a location; "Ich gehe auf den Platz." – "I am going to the plaza." (e.g. from home to there). You use Dativ when moving at a location: "Ich gehe auf dem Platz." (moving around on the plaza).
    – Hermann
    Mar 17, 2022 at 17:11
  • Reference: Ask your dictionary not for mitnehmen, but for auf. You will fnd it is a "Wechselpräposition" and hopefully explained the difference between accusative and dative usage.
    – tofro
    Mar 25, 2022 at 18:02
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to pick someone up would be: abholen mitnehmen could be understood as 'pick up' if used with an adverbial phrase: Ich nehme ihn vom Bahnhof mit.

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    Well then, "Ich habe Hans auf die Reise mitgenommen," should mean, "I picked Hans up during the trip," which my German friend says that it does not. Please see the original post.
    – user44591
    Mar 17, 2022 at 15:43

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