Learning a language is, let’s face it, a grind.  You have to keep yourself motivated to continue doing the work on a regular (daily!) basis.

What keeps you going?

For me, one of the things is when I find something about 日本語 that is different and cool compared to English.  I have found another one of those things:  あげます, くれます.

あげます and  くれます both mean “give” but they aren’t interchangeable.

If I give you something, it is あげます, but if you give me something it is くれます.

Why?  I have no idea.  (The “why” question might be one with a fascinating answer, but the time for that sort of question is later, after you have a good grasp of the language.  While you are still in the early stages, it will just bog you down.)

One of the most difficult things of any language is learning those subtle hidden things.

For example, if I want to say that you did something for me, I still use the て-form and くれます, even though we usually translate くれます as “give” and this implies that what you did for me was done voluntarily and also implies a sense of gratitude on my part.

That’s a lot for one little verb form.

Like this:  佐藤さんは料理を作ってくれました.

佐藤さん – Satou-san

は – the always popular topic marker

料理 – food, cuisine, etc.

を – the object mark, another old friend

作ってく – the て-form of the verb for make

れました – gave

and that all becomes: Satou-san prepared food for me but what it is really saying is more like, Satou-san kindly and of her own free will cooked me some food, and I am grateful fot that.


Now, if I can just keep straight when to use あげます and when to use  くれます, I’ll be on to something.

And, just because I’ve been referencing the て-form a lot, here’s the song.  If you listen to it, it’ll probably get stuck in your head.  You have been warned.




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