ageru, kureru, morau ( Genki II Chapter 14)


Japanese has two verbs for giving. The choice between the pair depends on the direciton of the transaction. Imagine a set of concentric spheres of relative psychological distances, with me at the center, you next to me, and all the others on the edge. When a thing moves away from the center, the transaction is described in terms of the verb あげる. When a thing moves toward the center, the verb we use is くれる.

あげる -> I give to you, you give to others, I give to others, somebody gives to somebody else

くれる -> Somebody gives me, you give me, somebody gives you

With both あげる and くれる, the giver is the subject of the sentence, and is accompanied by the particle は or が. The recipient is accompanied by the particle に.

(Giver) は/が (Recipient) に – (giver) gives to (recipient)

(Recipient) は/が (Giver) に/から もらう – (recipient) receives from (giver)