もらう / いただく Japanese Grammar Lesson
Grammar Type: Verb (Group 1)
Essential Meaning: Receive / Be given
Construction: Group 1 Verb
- もらう is used to describe an act of receiving in which the speaker (or someone psychologically close to the speaker) is the subject. Be careful not to confuse もらう with あげる or くれる, which describe acts of giving rather than receiving.
- E.g. *山本さんは私にお酒をもらった。[Mr. Yamamoto received sake from me.] This sentence is ungrammatical due to a viewpoint conflict. もらう requires the viewpoint of the speaker as the receiver, but the speaker in this example is the giver.
- In a third person situation that uses もらう, the speaker clearly empathizes with the receiver rather than with the giver.
- E.g. 山川さんは橋本さんにウイスキーをもらった。[Mr. Yamakawa got whiskey from Mr. Hashimoto.] In this case, the speaker clearly empathizes with Mr Yamawaka.
- The polite version of もらう is いただく.
- E.g. 私は先生に本をいただいた。[I received a book from my teacher.]
- E.g. (Before eating) いただきます！[I humbly receive this meal.]
- With もらう the giver can be marked by から as well as by に. から is more appropriate when the giver is non-human (e.g. an organization or a group). The reason is that に implies direct, personal contact, whereas から simply indicates a source.
- E.g. 私は山本さんから本をもらった。[I received a book from Mr. Yamamoto.]
- E.g. 私は日本政府からお金をもらった。[I received money from the Japanese government.]
- E.g. *私は日本政府にお金をもらった。[I received money from the Japanese government.] Because the Japanese government is an institution rather than a person, から is more appropriate than に.
- With もらう, first person subjects in declarative sentences and second person subjects in interrogative sentences can be omitted.
- E.g. First person subject in a declarative sentence: 山本さんに本をもらった。[I received a book from Mr. Yamamoto.] In this case, the first person subject and its particle (i.e. 私は) are omitted.
- E.g. Second person subject in an interrogative sentence: モリスさんに何をもらったの。[What did you get from Mr. Morris?] In this case, the second person subject and its particle (i.e. あなたは) are omitted.
山川さんは橋本さんにウイスキーをもらった。[Mr. Yamakawa got whiskey from Mr. Hashimoto.]
あなたはモリスさんに何をもらったの。[What did you get from Mr. Morris?]
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