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Introducing two auxiliary verbs ‘kureru’ and ‘morau’

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Dōryō-ga eki-made okutte-kureta-kara, nurenakatta-yo. (My colleague took me to the station, so I didn’t end up getting wet.)

Situation 1: Mrs. Shiba talks to her husband, who just got home from work. There was a sudden shower a little earlier.

妻: 雨、だいじょうぶだった?

夫: うん。同僚が駅まで送ってくれたから、ぬれなかったよ。

Tsuma: Ame, daijōbu-datta?

Otto: Un. Dōryō-ga eki-made okutte-kureta-kara, nurenakatta-yo.

Wife: Did you get caught in the rain?

Husband: No, my colleague took me to the station so I didn’t end up getting wet.

Today we’ll introduce the proper use of two auxiliary verbs, くれる and もらう, that attach to verbs in te-form. These expressions are often misused by learners of Japanese because they’re not usually found in other languages. When the speaker or someone from their in-group or close circle shows that they appreciate another’s action, verb (te-form) + くれる / もらう is used. Verb (te-form) + くれる is used when the speaker’s equal or subordinate does something for the speaker or someone in their in-group, such as a family member. Note that the subject of the sentence is always the person who does the favor, and 私に/私を (for me) is usually omitted. Examples: ゆきさんが鎌倉 (かまくら)を案内(あんない)してくれた (Yuki gave me a guided tour of Kamakura); 山田(やまだ)さんは妻(つま)にその本(ほん)を 貸(か)してくれた (Ms. Yamada lent the book to my wife). Verb (te-form) + くれる is usually used when someone does a favor for the speaker without being requested.

Situation 2: Ms. Tamachi talks to her colleague Mr. Sere, who moved to a new apartment at the weekend.

田町: 引っ越し、大変だったでしょう。

セレ: ううん、荷物が少なかったし、ゆりに手伝って もらったから、早く終わったよ。

Tamachi: Hikkoshi, taihen-datta-deshō.

Sere: Uun, nimotsu-ga sukunakatta-shi, Yuri-ni tetsudatte-moratta-kara, hayaku owatta-yo.

Tamachi: Moving must have been hard work, huh?

Sere: No, I didn’t have a lot of stuff and my girlfriend Yuri helped me, so we got it done quickly.

Verb (te-form) + もらう is used in the same situation as verb (te-form) + くれる. But the subject of verb (te-form) + もらう is the receiver of a favor and not the giver. Moreover, verb (te-form) + もらう is used when the speaker requests a favor to someone and that person obliges. Mr. Sere’s remark in Situation 2 implies that he asked Yuri to help him. Another example: 荷物(にもつ)がたくさんあったので、妹(いもうと)に駅(えき)まで迎(むか)えに 来(き)てもらった (I got my sister to come and pick me up at the station because I had so much stuff to carry).

Bonus Dialogue: Mr. Mita talks to his colleague Mr. Sere. They have known each other since their college days.

三田: セレくんはいつもぼくが落(お)ちこんでいるときに力(ちから)づけてくれて、ほんとに感謝(かんしゃ)しているよ。

セレ: いや、こっちこそ三田くんにはいろんなことを 教(おし)えてもらっているよ。

三田: いやいや、こっちこそ学生時代(がくせいじだい)から宿題(しゅくだい)を手伝(てつだ)ってもらっていた。

セレ: まあ、困(こま)ったときはお互(たが)いさまだよ。 ところで、きょうはどんな頼み事(たのみごと)?

三田: あ、実(じつ)は報告書(ほうこくしょ)の英語(えいご)をチェックしてもらいたいと思(おも)って。…頼みがあるって、よくわかったね。

セレ: そりゃ、三田くんと長(なが)く付(つ)き合(あ)って いれば、すぐにわかるよ。

三田: そうか。わかってもらえるのは、うれしいような、はずかしいような…。

Mita: You always cheer me up when I’m depressed, Sere. I really appreciate it.

Sere: Not at all. I’m the one who’s always learning from you.

Mita: No, no, no. You used to help me with my homework back in the day when we were students.

Sere: Well, I guess we help each other in times of need. So, what favor have you come to ask me today?

Mita: Well, actually, I wanted you to check my English for a report. … How did you know I had a favor to ask?

Sere: Well, I’ve known you long enough, haven’t I?

Mita: Ah, OK. Hmm, should I be glad or embarrassed that you know me so well?