Wild Nihongo!
てくれる / てくださる

てくれる / てくださる

てくれる / てくださる Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Auxiliary Verb (Group 2)

Essential Meaning: Do X for me (as a favor / as an act of kindness)


  • Verb て-Form + くれる
    • E.g. はなしてくれる [X speaks as a favor to me.]
    • E.g. べてくれる [X eats as a favor to me.]


  • てくれる is used to describe situations where someone performs an action as a favor or act of kindness to the speaker (or someone with whom the speaker empathizes closely). てくれる roughly translates to “Do X for me.” てくださる is the honorific version of てくれる.
  • In English, If I say “John lent me a book” or “John bought me a book“, it is implied that John performed the action as a favor to me. However, this implication does not carry over to Japanese; the idea of doing X as a favor must be made explicit, and てくれる serves that function.
  • The same viewpoint rules that apply to the verb くれる also apply to てくれる. Namely, the first person (or person psychologically close to the first person) is the indirect object of the sentence; they are the receiver of the favor.
    • E.g. らないひとわたしにコーラをってくれた。[A stranger bought me a cola (as a favor).] This sentence is OK because the first person is the indirect object of the sentence.
    • E.g. *わたしらないひとにコーラをってくれた。[I bought a stranger a cola (as a favor).] This example is ungrammatical because くれる cannot be used with a first person subject. あげる would be the appropriate verb choice in this case.
  • Just as with くれる, with てくれる the indirect object is often omitted if it refers to the first person in declarative sentences or to the second person in interrogative sentences.
    • E.g. はははケーキをいてくれた。[Mom baked me a cake.] Here, the first person indirect object plus its particle (i.e. わたしに) are omitted.
    • E.g. 子供こどもたちはなにをしてくれましたか。[What did the kids do for you?] Here, the second person indirect object plus its particle (i.e. あなたに) are omitted.
  • There are special cases when the person receiving the benefit is both the indirect object AND the direct object. For example, consider the sentence 道男みちおわたしわたしをなぐさめてくれた。[Michio did me the favor of consoling me]. In this sentence, the speaker is both the indirect object (i.e. わたしに) and the direct object (i.e. わたしを). In such instances, the indirect object is omitted and the direct object is left in place.
    • E.g. 道男みちおわたしをなぐさめてくれた。[Michio consoled me.] This example is correct because the indirect object was omitted, and the direct object remains.
    • E.g. *道男みちおわたしになぐさめてくれた。[Michio consoled me.] This example is incorrect for the opposite reason as above.
  • When てくれる is paired with an intransitive verb (i.e. a verb that doesn’t take a direct object), the beneficiary of the action is marked by のために rather than by .
    • E.g. *みんなはわたしはたらいてくれた。[Everyone worked for me.] This sentence is ungrammatical because てくれる cannot be used with an intransitive verb.
    • E.g. みんなはわたしのためにはたらいてくれた。[Everyone worked for my sake.]

Example Sentences:

ちちわたしにカメラをってくれた。[My father bought me a camera.]

道男みちおわたしをなぐさめてくれた。[Michio consoled me.]

ジョンはわたし息子むすこ英語えいごおしえてくれている。[John is kindly teaching my son English.]

WILD Examples:

At 1:46, listen for this line: 努力どりょく大事だいじ、パパがおしえてくれた [Hard work is important. My father did me the favor of teaching me that.]
Listen for this line at 0:27: もどらないしあわせがあることを、最後さいごにあなたがおしえてくれた [In the end, you did me the favor of teaching me that some forms of happiness cannot be recovered]
Listen to this line at 2:32: いますぐしたにジャージを穿てくれ目撃もくげきされてしまうまえ [Cover up with a jersey right away before you are seen]

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