Wild Nihongo!
くれる / くださる

くれる / くださる

くれる / くださる Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type:  Group 2 Verb

Essential Meaning: To give (where the first person is the receiver)

Construction: Group 2 Verb


  • くれる expresses an act of giving from the viewpoint of the receiver. In other words, the first person (or someone psychologically close to the first person, such as a family member) is the indirect object of the sentence. For example, in the sentence “Chris gave me a pencil“, the sentence is framed as an act of giving in which Chris is the giver and I am the receiver. Thus, くれる is the appropriate verb choice. If I instead framed the sentence as an act of receiving in which I am the subject and Chris is the direct object, the sentence would become “I received a pencil from Chris” and もらう would be the correct verb choice. Lastly, if the sentence were framed as an act of giving in which I were the giver and Chris were the receiver, the sentence would become “I gave a pencil to Chris” and the correct verb choice would be あげる. In short, the correct verb choice depends on whether the sentence describes an act of giving or an act of receiving as well as on whether the speaker is the subject or the indirect object. When the first person is involved, the sentence takes his or her point of view.
    • E.g. くりすはわたし鉛筆えんぴつをくれた。[Chris gave me a pencil.] This example describes an act of giving in which the speaker is the indirect object. くれる is the appropriate verb.
    • E.g. わたしはクリスに鉛筆えんぴつをもらった。[I received a pencil from Chris.] This example describes an act of receiving it which the speaker is the subject. もらう is appropriate.
    • E.g. わたしはクリスに鉛筆えんぴつをあげた。[I gave a pencil to Chris.] This example describes an act of giving in which the speaker is the subject. あげる is appropriate.
  • The indirect object can be omitted if it refers to the first person in declarative sentences or to the second person in interrogative sentences.
    • E.g. 先生せんせいほんをくれた。[Sensei gave me a book.] Here, the first person indirect object and its particle (i.e. 私に) are omitted.
    • E.g. ビルはなにをくれましたか。[What did Bill give you?] Here, the second person indirect object and its particle (i.e. きみに) are omitted.
  • The polite version of くれる is くださる.
    • E.g. 先生せんせいわたしほんをくださいました。[Sensei gave me a book.]

Example Sentences:

大川おおがわさんはわたしほんをくれた。[Mr. Ogawa gave me a book.]

川村かわむらさんはわたしむすめにレコードをくれた。[Mr. Kawamura gave my daughter a record.]

WILD Examples:

This is a very popular karaoke drinking song in Japan. The follow line repeats over and over: あなたがわたしれたもの [The thing that you gave me]. The context of the song is that the singer is listing all of the presents that her ex-boyfriend boyfriend gave to her.

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