〈24〉3-8 “ageru”, “morau” and “kureru” 【1】

                   〈24〉  ◆ chap 3  " The Japanese expressions & their secrets ! "   

               part 8. "ageru","morau" and "kureru"【1】 

In the previous article we talked about “mono” (thing / object)  and “koto” (thing / matter). This time we will look at the transfer of these things from one person to another.

   When we give or offer something to someone, we use the word “ageru” (give, offer).

    For example, “kyou watashi wa chichi ni tanjoubi no purezento o agemashita.”

                                            (Today I gave my father a birthday present.)


If we reverse the situation and make the father the subject, we use the word “morau”(receive).

         “kyou chichi wa watashi kara tanjoubi no purezento o moraimashita.”

       (Today my father received a birthday present from me.)


In other words, I gave him the present, and he received it. The word “ageru” means to give, to offer, or to present, and the word “morau” is the passive form of the word, ”receive”, and so on.  These words are used not only for “mono” (thing / object), but also for “koto” (thing / matter / actions).

For example, “tomodachi ni hon o kashite ageta” (I lent a book to my friend) means "I offered the loan of a book to my friend".  And also, “sensei ni nihongo o oshiete moratta”( I was taught Japanese by my teacher) means  "I received a Japanese lesson from my teacher".

When we offer or receive such actions, we use the paired words 'lend' and 'give', and 'teach' and 'receive' respectively. So we need to link these two verbs together. You already know. Yes, you've already figured out that you need to connect these two verbs using the glue "te (de)"!

Other examples are: “kanji o kaite ageru”(I will write Chinese characters for you), “okane o haratte ageru”(I’ll pay for you), “unten shite morau”(driving for me), “tezukuri no obentou o yorokonde morau”(I will make you happy with a home-made lunch), and so on.    

                                 ………. so far, it should be easy for foreign people to understand.

                                     But what does “kureru" (give me) mean? 

Yes, this is where things start to get a bit complicated. In Japanese, there is a sibling to the word “ageru”. It's called "kureru”, and it's basically the same as "give" and "offer". However, when someone "gives" something to me, we replace the word “ageru(give)” with another word “kureru”(give me) with gratitude.

For example, “okaasan ga imouto ni purezento o agemashita”(My mother gave a present to my sister) is a very natural expression. But "okaasan ga watashi ni purezento o agemashita”(My mother gave a present to me) is a very strange expression in Japanese. Not a single Japanese person uses this expression.

In English, they simply say "give me", but in Japanese, we use another verb "kureru", with a heartfelt thank you. In other words, we need to change the verb “ageru”(give) to “kureru”(give me).

             ーーThe relationship between "...kudasai!"(..,please!) and "kureru"

To tell the truth, the word “ kudasai! ” of the sentence “mizu o ippai kudasai!”(please give me a glass of water!) is a kind of imperative form of the verb “kureru”. In other words, it is the English equivalent of " Give me! ”.


When I was a child, you can see how old I am (lol), the American Occupation Army arrived in jeeps to our town, then we went after them with all my friends, and shout Give me chocolate !! in English. How delicious were the chocolates they gave us!

And as you know “ageru”(give), “morau”(receive) and “kureru”(give me) are used not only for “mono” (thing / object), but also for “koto” (thing / matter) . For example, the Japanese sentence “me-ru o okutte kudasai.” means “Please give me send an e-mail.” or “Please send me an e-mail.”in English. To be precise, “…kudasai” is never "Please …“, even if it is often translated like this in the subtitles of movies.

This is because, although Japanese verbs have imperative forms (for example,
in the case of ”iku”(go), “ike!” (Go!) or “ikinasai!”(Go!). But both are too harsh, as if they were leftover from the feudal era. Therefore, most verbs are now joined with the imperative form of “kureru”(give me), “…kudasai!”(give me!), which has a somewhat softer ring to it.

By the way I suppose that the Japanese equivalent of "Please --!" in English is
“douzo --!" or “douka --!" in Japanese. However, because of word limits on film subtitles and dialogue, they often use the almost identical word “...kudasai!”(please...!).

                   There is one more thing I need to tell you.
                             “kureru” does not only mean "give me" !

The story gets even more complicated. The problem with the word “kureru" is that it's not just "give me”, It can also be used as “give you”, "give him(her)” or "give them”.

For example, I would ask my friend, “kono udedokei wa dare ga kureta no?”(Who gave you this watch?) instead of asking “kono udedokei wa dare kara moratta no?”(From whom did you recieve this watch?).

In English it would be "Who gave you this watch? However in Japanese, we often use the word "kureru" to make it sound as if someone has given it to us, or in other words, as if we have received it (“moratta”) .

According to the report, In English there are words like "put yourself in someone's place" or "in someone's shoes". In this way, Japanese people think as if they were a friend.

"kyou okaasan ga pasokon o oshiete kureta!"
(Today my mother taught me to use a personal computer.)

This also happens with the third person. For example, “kare wa chichioya ga katte kureta makka na porushe o totemo daiji ni shite iru” (He loves the bright red Porsche his father bought him.), or “seitotachi wa sensei ga oshiete kureta nihon no uta o supeingo ni yakushite jouzuni utatte imasu.”(The students have been singing well, translating the Japanese songs that their teacher has taught them into Spanish!) They try to express in their writing the gratitude of others as well as themselves. The Japanese sensibilities are so profound, isn't it?

                             It's getting a bit long, so we'll talk about it next time!

          ーーー  The next post will be                         


                            <25> chap 3 "The Japanese expressions & their secrets!"

                                                    part 9. “ageru”, “morau” and  “kureru” 【2

                                          This is published 



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