A confusing sentence for someone just learning もらう and てもらう

「これは友達に買ってもらった」I’m not a fan of finding out either this means, Bought that from a friend, or friend bought that. Does it all come down with context? Am I over thinking this? “Am I going to have a brain aneurysm?” - Person having a brain aneurysm Dec 2021

In all seriousness I need a break down of the sentence cause this is driving me insane. Any explanations? thx c:

2 Likes

[person] に [て form verb] + もらう means “have [person] do [verb]” or “get [person] to [verb]”

So this means “I had my friend buy this” or “I got my friend to buy this”. It doesn’t necessarily imply coersion or force though, even though the English sounds strong.

It’s technically ambiguous from this alone as to whether it means the object belongs to the speaker and the friend bought it for them, or if they’re talking about something they instructed the friend to buy, but the object still belongs to the friend.

Though, the latter situation seems less likely. I can still imagine it though (like, say you were talking about ingredients for making something and you’re telling a third party that you told your friend to get this ingredient).

And if it’s the former, we would probably just say “My friend bought this for me” but the Japanese grammar does not literally translate to that. That would be more like 友達はこれを買ってくれた.

9 Likes

Couldn’t have said it any better, this explanation works indeed :confounded::pray:

thank you c:

1 Like

てもらう (similarly to てくれる) basically has the nuance of “receiving a benefit from someone’s action”, in this case the action being “buying this”.

2 Likes