I was reading in a bilingual reader yesterday and came across this little gem:
Let’s break it down, shall we?
I was pretty much fine with this one:
私は – I followed by the ever popular topic marker
英語で – in English
住所を – address – and this one is the reason I was only “pretty much fine” with it. It took me several seconds of staring and head scratching to recognize this Kanji, even though it makes perfect sense when you compare it with 住んでいます. Of course “address” starts off the same as “to live somewhere” right?
書く – to write
ことができません – to be unable to do something
So: I cannot write the address in English.
That one was okay, so let’s tackle the next one:
私のために – for me. This was a new construction for me, which is one more good reason to keep digging into this reader
書いて – the て form of 書く – to write
もらえません – this one, depressingly, baffled me at first, which is annoying because it shouldn’t have!
か – question marker
So let’s get back to もらえません. This is clearly a version of もらいます – to receive, and the い being changed to え makes it “can receive”. Actually, in this case, “cannot receive.”
Actually, given that it is in the form of a question, it is really more like, “won’t you be able to receive” or something like that.
This just keeps getting more and more complicated, doesn’t it?
And now we have to deal with the total construction 書いてもらえませんか。
Then I felt dumb. て form + もらいます! I learned that construction just a few chapters ago, but I hadn’t seen it since then. Okay, I had never seen it using the potential form of もらいます and turned into a question, but so what? It’s still the same basic form.
私のたみに書いてもらえませんか obviously means “Can you write it for me?” as in “Are you able to write it for me?” Sigh. I should have recognized it right away, but at least I got it in the end.
Yet another good reason to stay consistent in your studies!