414 - ~てもらう

Before we say anything about grammar, let's make sure that we know the following verbs:

迎えに来る(むかえにくる // to pick someone up; to come for someone
描く(かく // to draw; to paint
貸す(かす // to lend
運転(を)する(うんてん[を]する // to drive; to operate
握手(を)する(あくしゅ[を]する // to shake hands

Some fun stuff to note about these verbs:

Although 書く (かく) is "to write," when we use the kanji 描く (かく) it means "to draw; to paint."

迎えに来る (むかえにくる), "to pick someone up," literally means "greeting + に + come." We have seen this phrase in all of the following lessons:
- [NDL #49] - Making Requests Like a Boss
- [NDL #69] - Plum Blossom Adventure
- [NDL #82] - I simply cannot write a lesson today.
- [NDL #269] - Flying Witch
- [NDL #290] - Homophone Quiz

So I hope you know it by now!

Assuming you now know the words listed above, we can ease into today's grammar point:


JLPT N4: ~てもらう (have someone do something for [me])

Now, you're already an expert in もらう because you hardcore studied the previous lesson, right?

Wishful thinking?

Well, just to be safe, you may want to read through these lessons again:

[NDL #399] - JLPT N5: あげる
[NDL #400] - JLPT N4: ~てあげる
[NDL #406] - JLPT N5: くれる
[NDL #407] - JLPT N4: ~てくれる
[NDL #413] - JLPT N5: もらう

If you're feeling lazy, then at least glance over the lessons on もらう and ~てくれる, as I'll be referring to them in this lesson.

So we've seen how もらう means "to get" or "to receive."

And we've seen how ~てくれる means "to give (me) (some action); to generously do (something) for (me)."

~てもらう is very similar to ~てくれる, as it is used to talk about doing things for us (or people psychologically close to us).

However, there is one crucial difference: With ~てもらう, the nuance is that the speaker requested the action being performed.

You may recall that we saw this sentence (which here I've conjugated more casually):

祖母、ずっと欲しかった3DSを買ってくれた
そぼ が、 ずっと ほしかった スリーディーエス を かって くれた
My grandma got me the 3DS that I’d been wanting for so long.
Literally: “grandma + が, + forever + wanted + (Nintendo) 3DS + を + buy (and) + gave (me)."

Compare that to the following version using ~てもらう instead of ~てくれる:

祖母、ずっと欲しかった3DSを買ってもらった
そぼ に、 ずっと ほしかった スリーディーエス を かって もらった。
I got my grandma to buy me the 3DS that I’d been wanting for so long.
Literally: “grandma + に, + forever + wanted + (Nintendo) 3DS + を + had buy (=buy [and] + received)."

In the example with ~てくれる, the speaker sounds like a grateful kid.

In the example with ~てもらう, the speaker sounds like a little brat who gets his grandma to buy things for her/him.

Big difference!


The rules for particles and whatnot are the same as when using もらう without having it attached to a verb in the te-form:

If that image is confusing, then please consult the previous lesson for details.

Also, if you've been reading this series of lessons so far, this should make sense, but the person receiving the action must be the speaker or someone psychologically close to the speaker.

For example, the following sentence is incorrect:

✕ アサドさんは弟にお金を貸してもらいました。
✕ アサドさん は おとうと に おかね を かして もらいました。
✕ Assad-san got my (younger) brother to lend him some money.
Literally: “Assad-san + は + younger brother + に + money + を + had lend (=lend [and] + received).”

It's incorrect because "younger brother" is (presumably) psychologically closer to the speaker than "Assad-san."

Instead, we'd have to say:

〇 弟はアサドさんにお金を貸してもらいました
〇 おとうと は アサドさん に おかね を かして もらいました。
〇 My (younger) brother got Assad-san to lend him some money.
Literally: “younger brother + は + Assad-san + に + money + を + had lend (=lend [and] + received).”

Again, if the particles in this sentence are confusing you, please consult the previous lesson (or review the image shown above).


Last lesson, we learned that we can confer respect upon the giver of something by using いただく in place of もらう. (Note that I said "the giver of something" and not "the listener.")

Similarly, we can confer respect on the giver of an action by using ~ていただく in place of ~てもらう.

We have a few examples of this below. First, though, let's make sure that you can conjugate all of the verbs we saw at the beginning of this lesson into te-form:

Dictionary Form
迎えに来る(むかえにくる // to pick someone up; to come for someone
描く(かく // to draw; to paint
貸す(かす // to lend
運転(を)する(うんてん[を]する // to drive; to operate
握手(を)する(あくしゅ[を]する // to shake hands

て Form
迎えに来てむかえにきて // pick someone up [and]
描いてかいて // draw [and]
貸してかして // lend [and]
運転(を)してうんてん[を]して // drive [and]
握手(を)してあくしゅ[を]して // shake hands [and]

て Formもらう[いただく]
迎えに来てもらうto have someone pick someone up
描いてもらうto have someone draw
貸してもらうto have someone lend
運転(を)してもらうto have someone drive
握手(を)してもらうto have someone shake hands

OK. You're pro now. Let's get into some more examples!


私は車の運転が苦手なので、いつも妻に運転してもらいます
わたし は くるま の うんてん が にがて なので、 いつも つま に うんてん してもらいます。
I’m not very good at driving, so I always have my wife drive.
Literally: “I + は + car + の + driving + が + poor at + because (=なので), + always + wife + に + driving + have do (=do [and] + receive).”


雨が降っていたので、父に駅まで迎えに来てもらった
あめ が ふっていた ので、 ちち に えき まで むかえに きてもらった。
It was raining, so I had my dad come and pick me up at the station.
Literally: “rain + が + was falling + because (=ので), + father + に + station + until (=まで) + had him come to pick me up (=greeting + に + come [and] + received).”


プロに描いてもらった私たちの似顔絵を、リビングに飾っています。
プロ に かいて もらった わたしたち の にがおえ を、 リビング に かざっています。
The portrait of us that we had a professional paint is hanging in the living room.
Literally: “pro + に + got to draw/paint (=draw/paint [and] + received) + we + の + portrait + を, + living room + に + is adorning.”


サイン会で、村上春樹さんに握手をしていただきました
サインかい で、 むらかみ はるき さん に あくしゅ を して いただきました。
I got Mr. Haruki Murakami to shake my hand at the (book) signing.
Literally: “signing + で, + Murakami Haruki-san + に + handshake + を + (humbly) had do (=do [and] + [humbly] received).”


青山先生に貸していただいた傘を壊してしまいました。
あおやま せんせい に かして いただいた かさ を こわして しまいました。
I accidentally broke the umbrella that I got Aoyama-sensei to lend me.
Literally: “Aoyama-sensei + に + had lend (=lend [and] + [humbly] received) + umbrella + を + (accidentally) broke.”


Congratulations! If you made it this far then you're done studying grammar for giving and receiving for a good while.

I'm so proud of you. \(T_T)/




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