Come with

"Do you want to come with?"

(Spartz 2008)


The V with construction is the use of the word with following certain verbs, as in the following examples from Spartz (2008):

1) Do you want to come with?

2) They are leaving on a great adventure; you should go with.

3) It is a good idea to take a gun with.

Who says this?

This construction is found in the Upper Midwest, particularly in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin (Spartz 2008). The phrase come with seems to be more widespread than its counterparts with the verbs go, take, or bring.

Syntactic properties

With as a particle

This construction has been analyzed as having a silent pronoun after the word with, so that the mental representation of (1) above is Do you want to come with us? However, Spartz (2008) argues that in this construction with is actually a particle that is selected by the verb.

English has many verbs that come with particles, such as get up, put on, and look for, and Spartz (2008) argues that V with expressions belong in this category. For example, in English, it is possible to insert an adverb between a verb and a preposition, while it is not possible to insert an adverb between a verb and its particle, which explains the contrast between (4a), which is acceptable to native speakers, and (4b), which is not acceptable to native speakers:

4) a. The man walked carefully up the hill.

b. *The man got carefully up this morning.

Like in (4b), an adverb cannot be inserted between the verb and with in V with constructions, which is evidence that with is a particle in these constructions. For example, although (5a) is acceptable, it becomes unacceptable when the adverb carefully is inserted between the verb and with as in (5b):

5) a. You should take with a gun.

b. *You should take carefully with a gun.

Only certain verbs

This use of with is most frequently seen with the verb come, as well as with go. Spartz (2008) also discusses bring with and take with, and mentions ride with and carry with. Wilson Gray on the American Dialect Society Listserv (in this thread) also observes that some speakers can use with with be, as in (6):

6) A friend was with, and she drove me home.

Origin

Many people have identified as the source of this phenomenon similar constructions in other Germanic languages, including the Scandinavian languages. This would explain its presence in places like Wisconsin and Minnesota, where many Norwegian, Swedish, and German speakers settled.

Page contributed by Aidan Kaplan on March 13, 2015.

Page updated by Tom McCoy on August 7, 2015.

References

American Dialect Society Listserv contribution from Wilson Gray (available at this link)

Spartz, John M. 2008. Do you want to come with?: A cross-dialectal, multi-field, variationist investigation of with as particle selected by motion verbs in the Minnesota dialect of English. Doctoral dissertation. Purdue University, Indiana.

Further reading

Hall, Joan H. (ed.), Dictionary of American Regional English. Entry for come with, under with, adv. (C). Cambridge: Harvard U. Press. Available here.

Preston, Dennis (2008). Language with an attitude. In J. K. Chambers et al. (eds.), The Handbook of Language Variation and Change, 39-66. Oxford: Wiley.