Mnemonics for もらう、あげる、くれる?


I have difficulties using the constructs with もらう、あげる、くれる. My little brain can’t get it.
Do you have any mnemonics for these or did you hammer the grammar (could be a good textbook name) into your heads?

Please share your ideas.

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Yeah, I think just repetition is the most important thing. Using them in real life, and checking that you got it right.

Seems like mnemonics would be hard to come up with, but maybe someone can find a way to encode the relationship dynamics into mnemonics.


I used this video to initially learn them and it really helped, but yea after that it’s just repetition and drilling it into your brain.


This video from kanjilink really helped me a lot.

I distinctly remember drilling these three over and over again in my first year of Japanese in uni, haha. We were using Genki 1. For me the best thing that worked was just throwing them in my general vocab deck that I had for Genki 1 vocab and drilling the hell out of them along with everything else. As you can use Japanese more in conversation and reading, you’ll encounter them more. I’d definitely recommend the Genki 1 explanation, it worked well for me.

Just remember that these verbs are all from the perspective of the SPEAKER.

あげる - to give (to someone else)
くれる - to give (to the speaker)
もらう - to receive

Half the difficulty is getting the words right, other half is getting the particles right. Genki goes into this.

Just a quick correction, that’s in Genki 2, chapter 14!

Reading Making Sense of Japanese: What the Textbooks Don’t Tell You by Jay Rubin is what got them to click for me. He has a really great section on it.

One thing that might help is that あげる means to raise and くださる means to lower, so being a nice humble Japanese person you always raise things up to other people (since you’re so lowly and humble, their position in society is higher than you) and when someone else gives you something they have to lower it down to you. Once you have that straight you can remember that くれる and くださる go together since both begin with く.


I don’t have either of the textbooks with me any more but I’m pretty sure that Genki 1 covers the basic usage of くれる、あげる、もらう and Genki 2 covers ~てくれる、~てあげる、~てもらう as in the grammar pattern ‘having done _____ as a favor for,’ but it’s been a while so I admit I could be wrong on which textbooks these two sets of patterns are in.

Edit: Nvm I just looked up a grammar points list, apparently they both actually are in Genki 2. You were right lol.

These three knuckleheads also gave me a headache. This video helped me

these are terrible and will probably hurt more than help, you have been warned.
You’re a くれ (cool) guy so people do stuff for you.

You’re at an age (あげ) where you’re now an adult with adult responsibilities, so you do things for other people

Or alternatively, you’re a gay rubix cube (あ げ るbix cube) so you do “stuff” for other gay rubix cubes (sorry, i’ll delete this if anyone asks me to)

And finally,
You’re a die-hard masochist, so you ask your dominatrix for more ‘ows’ (もらう) so you, being the masochist, are receiving

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Seconded. I stopped studying Japanese for years before starting again now so it’s hard to remember exactly what it was like when I started, but I’m pretty sure this is what did it for me. Understanding them as あげる up and くれる/くださる down let me easily understand which was appropriate in a given situation.

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