Here is a sentence

Wie viel Zeit verbringst du an den Wochenenden mit Sport?

My question is why is "mit" used in this specific context instead of something like "auf"? It is just I've checked all the meanings of "mit", and there doesn't seem to be one that would justify its usage in this specific context.

2 Answers 2


In this context, "mit" refers to what you spending your time with, or what you are spending your time doing. So, a (probably overly literal) translation could be

How much time do you spend on the weekends with (doing) sports?

Technically, it could refer to any sports-related activity, for example watching a soccer match on tv as well, but it would probably mostly understood as exercising yourself.

I don't see where "auf" would come into play, unless you understand "Sport" as a location of some type, like

Wie viel Zeit verbringst du an den Wochenenden auf (dem TV-Kanal namens) "Sport"?

  • 2
    auf (with accusative) can be used with verwenden: Viel Zeit auf etwas verwenden means to spend much time doing something or to invest much time in something.
    – RHa
    Jun 11, 2023 at 18:02
  • 1
    @RHa Isn't that more of a regional version, though? If I had to guess from the top of my head, I'd locate "viel Zeit auf etwas verwenden" in the alemannic dialects, especially Swiss German. Jun 11, 2023 at 18:15
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    'Viel Zeit auf etw. verwenden' hört sich auch für mich als Nordlicht ganz normal an Jun 12, 2023 at 5:47

Prepositions are not exactly very logical in any Indo-European language.

In English, there is the phrase "spend time on something". In German, it is "Zeit mit etwas verbringen". Neither of those is in any way more logical than the other. It is just how those verbal phrases work in these languages. In other languages you might use entirely different prepositions and that too has nothing to do with logic, it is just a matter of languages having different phrases.

  • 2
    I agree with that, but somehow I miss the bottom line, which in my opinion is something like: the preposition on its own has only a weak contribution to the total meaning, most of it depends on the used verb.
    – guidot
    Jun 12, 2023 at 7:07

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