“I’m going to the movies. Do you want to come with?”
A reader in England has noticed that this elliptical use of “come with” on British television and doesn’t care for it:
I find it to be an expression I prefer not to use, as it sounds grammatically wrong and very odd, even though, were I in Germany, I would automatically and happily use the equivalent expression “Kommen sie mit”. Do you know the age of the English “Come with”?
There is an example in the OED of a 19th century elliptical use of with without an object:
in slang use, in reference to liquor means mixed with sugar, having sugar added; usually in phrases hot or cold with.
1836 Dickens Sketches by Boz 1st Ser. I. 84 Two glasses of rum-and-water ‘warm with—’.
1843 R. S. Surtees Handley Cross I. x. 202 Fatch me up a glass of cold sherry negus with.
1843 R. S. Surtees Handley Cross I. xv. 322 ‘Take a glass of brandy,’ said she… ‘hot with? or cold without?’
Where did the modern usage originate?
The reader’s mention of German “Kommen sie mit,” points to the answer. Large numbers of German, Norwegian, Swedish, and Dutch immigrants to the U.S. settled in the midwest, near the Great Lakes. “Kommen sie mit” migrated into the local English dialect.
English is, after all, a Germanic language. Old English mid, meaning “with,” survived into Middle English and was sometimes spelled mit.
Many American speakers dislike the usage as well:
Why do people say, “Can I come with” and “Do you want to go with”? That “with” hanging on the end of the sentence has always driven me crazy.
That reaction seems a bit extreme. My Chicago relations say it. I find it odd, but endearing. It is, however, a regionalism that has not acquired the status of standard English.
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