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. くりすは私に鉛筆をくれた。[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. 私はクリスに鉛筆をもらった。[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. 私はクリスに鉛筆をあげた。[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. 先生は本をくれた。[Sensei gave me a book.] Here, the first person indirect object and its particle (i.e. 私に) are omitted.
- E.g. ビルは何をくれましたか。[What did Bill give you?] Here, the second person indirect object and its particle (i.e. 君に) are omitted.
- The polite version of くれる is くださる.
- E.g. 先生は私に本をくださいました。[Sensei gave me a book.]
大川さんは私に本をくれた。[Mr. Ogawa gave me a book.]
川村さんは私の娘にレコードをくれた。[Mr. Kawamura gave my daughter a record.]
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