"Nein, ich habe es nicht dabei."

Translation:No, I do not have it with me.

April 10, 2013

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No one has really given a sufficient answer. What does "dabei" mean? German speakers out there help!!!!


da + preposition means there/here/it + preposition meaning. An "r" is sometimes added after da if the preposition begins with a vowel. For example "darauf" means on it and "darunter" means under it.

Here dabei means "thereby", "herewith", etc... If you literally dump those translations into English it doesn't make a lot of sense, so we translate it as "with me".

"No, I have it not herewith" Is the most literal translation. In English we would never say we have something "herewith", so that is why the translation is "on me" or "with me".

If you can think of the da + preposition rule then when your mind translates "herewith" that will help you remember "here with me" or just "with me".


btw you can also do this same adding of a preposition logic with "wo" to make a question.

wovon: what from worüber: what about wofür: what for

Not sure why "wo" means what in this context when it means "where" by itself, but it does in this particular construct. A lot of these wo + prep constructs make more sense in English if you swap the word order (e.g. from what)

Wovon träumst du? (what do you dream of?) Ich träume davon (I dream of it)


"Wo" actually still means "where" in this context. It just turns into old English.

"Whereof", "Whereupon", "Wherefore", "Whereby", "Whereover" etc.


thank you so much for this! such a neat and concise response!


Thank you! This is helpful!


Thank you very much.


Take a Lingot for this spectacular answer!


'no i don't have it on me' was not accepted for me :(


It sounds correct but may not be included in the program. You should report it.


How about damit?


A short summary from my German textbook (Kontakte 7th ed.) mit is for instrument, togetherness, and means of transportation. bei is for vicinity (this example, here with so "da(here, something abstract)+bei(with)", somebody's place, and place of employment.

So definitely can't use damit here. Hope this helps.


What about if you are referring it as something non abstract such as a phone/ or a person??


I just list some simple cases. You can find more discussion here: https://www.lsa.umich.edu/german/hmr/Grammatik/Relativsaetze/relative.html

For a person, you would use "der/die (not das I hope)" (also depends on the case), just like the English "who/whom". Example:

Da ist der Mann, der Rumpelstilzchen liebt. (There is the man who loves Rumpelstilzchen) Da ist der Mann, den Rumpelstilzchen liebt. (There is the man whom Rumpelstilzchen loves)

For things like a phone, you would still use the article that corresponds to its gender, similar to the English "which". Say:

Stefan trinkt viel zu viel Kaffee, der seinen Magen zerstören wird. (Stefan is drinking much too much coffee, which will destroy his stomach.) "Kaffee" is masculine so we use "der" here.


With German to say you have been doing something... Would you just say past perfect e.g ich habe gespielt.... So this translates to I played/have played/ was playing/ have been playing?


"have been doing" is different from "have done" in English so I won't use German present perfect to say that, not for "was playing" either. The German present perfect is close to the English present perfect, even it can mean the simple past in English, but it stresses the effect on present.


I have also seen beim or am and then the verb also.. E.g ich war beim lesen meaning I was reading


This link also discusses the "da-compounds" case, which tells under what situations we can/cannot use da-compounds. Say

"Da-compounds cannot be used to refer to people or most animals ("most" means: start using da-compounds at the point where assuming any kind of personality for the animal would be absurd, e.g. for insects)"



But in this sentence "Ich habe es nicht dabei", I am referring to a person mir. According to the rule

"Da-compounds cannot be used to refer to people or most animals"

doesn't this mean that I can't use dabei in the sentence, but rather "Ich habe es nicht bei mir" instead?


dabei works fine here in this sentence -- it's not short for bei es or bei das (i.e. doesn't refer to any particular "it" or "that") but simply means "with (me/you/her/us/etc.)" or "on (me/you/her/us/etc.)".


So the meaning of "dabei" depends on the subject, right? So it wouldn't be only with me but also with you/him/her, etc??


That's right.

Hast du einen Spiegel dabei? -- Nein, aber frag mal Karin; sie hat immer einen dabei. "Do you have a mirror on you? No, but ask Karin; she always has one on her."


What would be grammatically wrong with "Nein, ich habe es mit mir nicht". How do I know when I must use the da-* words?


Unfortunately, you just have to know. You'll certainly be understood if you say "mit mir," but you'll also be immediately recognized as Ausländer. Believe me, I've done it! :-) Use dabei instead; that's one of the things this section is trying to teach you. In time, you'll come to know when it's correct to use so-called da- and wo- sentence constructions.


I want to know the answer to this too - is it just 'not the way a German would say it', or is it actually wrong?

[deactivated user]

    It's wrong. You need to use "dabei".


    Why though? Is it just bort's particular construction or can „mit“ never be used to convey "on one's person" (and if so, why)?

    [deactivated user]

      You can say "Ich habe es nicht dabei", or more colloquially "Ich habe es nicht mit". If you add "mir", it's wrong.


      Dabei means in that, with it, and with me? This is all very confusing to an English speaker and makes it difficult to tell what they mean

      • 1379

      Think of dabei haben as a set phrase meaning “to have on/with one”. So:

      • Ich habe es dabei. (I have it with me)
      • Du hast es dabei. (You have it with you)



      You mean like a separable verb "dabeihaben"???

      • 1379

      You’re right, dabeihaben does appear to be a separable verb (and therefore should be written as one word when dabei is not separated). I didn’t think of that possibility because I can’t think of any other separable verbs with dabei.

      In any case, thanks for pointing it out!


      Really like this tip/association! Please have a lingot


      Is "mithaben" a synonym to "dabeihaben"? Someone also commented you can say "Ich habe es nicht mit" with the same meaning.

      • 1379

      Yes, mithaben is a synonym of dabeihaben but a very colloquial one. I would advise against using it in writing (unless you’re citing a spoken dialogue word for word of course).


      You could use "bei mir" instead of "mit mir"


      On itranslate, "dabei" means "there", so i dont see why it's necessary here. It's easier to say "es fehlt"--"it is missing"- oder "ich habe es mit mir nicht" sounds acceptable, too. :)


      Dabei = "Therewith" or "Herewith" basically.


      "Ich habe es mit mir nicht" is totally incorrect german. I know it can be hard to accept but english isn't the standard that all other languages have to adhere to. Other languages express things differently.

      • 2385

      Said Han Solo to Greedo.


      I put, i do not have it, it was wrong?


      I do not have it - Ich habe es nicht - I do not own such an item

      I do not have it with me - Ich habe es nicht dabei - I own such an item but have not brought it along


      why not: "No, I do not have it by myself"?


      Just wondering, can this sentence also mean "I do not have it at the same time?" Where does the possessive come in?


      [deactivated user]

        dabei = with me/on me


        Doesn't dabei mean with that?

        [deactivated user]

          Depending on the context, "dabei" can mean all sorts of things.



          Just discovered something new. I had this wrong, when I pressed check a red message saying:"correct mistake" came up. I checked the comments and typed the correct answer. Will this occur with each error or only the very complex? I'm not sure I like it being so easy.


          Beats being forced to go with wrong stuff and then having to deal with getting that out of your mind, and finally get their so called right answer. You do better going through a dictionary with examples, Now if Duo had people who knew some German? Who knows


          I got that a couple of times They saw me sweating. Actually it was when I went ahead and clicked discuss sentence to try and learn from everyone, having thought I lost a heart and might they be rewarding that. Good Idea anyway, now I always look at all the input- its great. Can learn a big bunch more, there you go!. Oddly when doing that, and bought a spare heart on each unit, I have not had to use the spare. Alles gute! aj


          As far as I know, "da" sticked in front of a preposition means it, for example damit - with it, dadurch - through it, darauf - on it. Is it common to use "dabei" in this meaning?

          There are also trennbar verbs like "mit|haben" (have with oneself) or "mit|bringen" (bring with oneself).


          Can someone tell me why "No, I do not have it with myself." is wrong? Apparently I am unable to answer a German question due to an incorrect understanding of English grammar. :)


          In English, one would say "I don't have it with ME." not "with myself".


          I don't think your English is grammatically wrong, but it doesn't mean the same as the sentence provided. In fact, I can't really think of a situation in which it would be used.

          "To have x with me" means that you currently have x on your person (in your hand, in your pocket, in you wallet etc). The sentence given - "No, I do not have it with me" would normally be used if someone asked you for something but you couldn't hand it over because it was somewhere else. E.g. "Could you give me the ticket?" "No, I don't have it with me - I left it at home." You could also substitute "on me" for "with me" in most circumstances.

          "To have x with myself" is a bit trickier. The only instances I can think of are things like "I'm having a conversation with myself" or "I'm having dinner with myself" (i.e. you're doing the thing alone).

          Myself (as well as yourself, himself etc) is used when the subject is the same as the object of the sentence/phrase (e.g. "I entertained myself", "She sang to herself", "We dug ourselves a hole"). That is, it is the reflexive form of I. See Reflexive verb on Wikipedia.


          Does anyone know what "dabei" means? Is it just "with me?" Can it also mean "with you/him/her/our/themselves?"

          My dictionary doesn't have a definition, just some examples of the word in use.


          So with the correct statement can I say "ich habe es dabei."? (Google translates it as "i have not been there" instead of "I have it with me".


          Google Translate is highly unreliable, especially with idioms. I suppose it's okay for "translating" into your native language, just to give you a rough idea of something, but that's as far as I'd go with it.

          Ich habe es dabei or Ich hab's dabei is fine if you mean I have it [with me/on my person.]


          Kann ich sag' auch, "Nein, ich habe es nicht damit."


          would "nein, ich habe es nicht damit" work? Thanks


          No, it wouldn't. Give the tipps under the lightbulb icon a try, they are really helpful.


          I looked up to Google translate and haben and dabei is "one element verb" it means "have along". So I'm assuming the translation would be " i don't have it along with me". Could any native speaker clarify?

          • 1379

          I’m not entirely sure what “one element verb” is supposed to mean. But dabei haben is definitely a fixed idiom with the meaning you described.


          Ah i see, "one element verb" is my own term to call any verb who has 2 word on it :D, i don't know what they're called so

          • 1379

          In that case, yes, dabei haben is a “one element verb” :D I’m blanking on the official linguistic term right now; instinctively I’d probably call it a “multi-part verb phrase”. If the parts are separated from each other, we usually speak of a Verbklammer (verbal bracket) in German.


          No, I do not have it nearby

          • 1379

          No, dabei haben means to carry something on your person, not just have it somewhere nearby.


          I tried 'no, i do not have it to hand', because i thought that translated happily with darbei (in my mind there-by/beside/at). It didnt work.


          So is 'dabei' a catchall phrase meaning with it, at it, there at, and with me? How does one determine the intended meaning? Are these sort of slang phrases or idioms where the actual words don't directly translate directly to the meaning? Do we just have to memorize each of these phrases?

          • 1379

          Dabeihaben is a separable verb which means “to have with/on oneself”. By itself (i.e. not as the prefix of dabeihaben) it is basically just bei + the demonstrative das “that”. Das doesn’t like to combine with prepositions. Instead we prefix the preposition with da(r)- (the -r- is only present if the preposition starts with a vowel, e.g. über “over” → darüber “over that”).


          Thank you for your explanation.


          How do you say "I don't have it by me." in German? (Duolingo rejects it as a translation).


          Can I also use "damit" in this sentence? "Nein, ich habe es nicht damit." I am confused about when to use "damit" and "dabei"


          Can I also use "damit" in this sentence? "Nein, ich habe es nicht damit."

          No, you cannot.

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