Short Grammar Questions (Part 2)

No the subject is different for both
(あなたに)私が食べてもらった - You ate for me
(you probably would say it to another person though so (愛さんに) or somesuch)


Oh yeah I completely overlooked that, so then what’s the difference between that and the ください sentence in meaning?

That comes back to what vanilla wrote

Technically the second is not “you ate for me” but “I received the eating from you” which sounds a bit strange in english

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The tofugu article covers that:

  1. whether the focus of the sentence is on you (having the act done for you) or the actor (doing the act for you)

  2. -temorau can have a bit of a ‘now I owe them one’ nuance

Plus there’s the politeness difference because the examples mixed polite (kudasaru) and normal (morau) unnecessarily…


More general notes: these verbs of giving and receiving (and especially their extended use as auxiliary verbs) seem to be a common area of difficulty for learners, so you’re not alone. It’s normal to need to go back over the textbook chapter (or better still, use a different reference to get a different point of view). The important parts are:

  1. start with the plain set あげる, くれる, もらう and understand those before worrying about any of the others, which are just variants with the same basic meanings as those three
  2. make sure you understand the simple “giving objects” part, then look at the “doing actions for people” auxiliary verb form
  3. these verbs constrain both (a) who is doing the giving and (b) whether you/your in-group is giver or receiver. It’s important to understand this and not just mentally gloss both あげる and くれる as “give”. In real-life Japanese sentences the subject and agent (i.e. giver and receiver) will often be left unstated because the choice of verb makes it obvious – but if you just think of them both as ‘to give’ you’ve missed information that is in the sentence.

If you’ve re-read your textbook chapter/grammar dictionary/etc explanation and kinda-sorta get it, I also recommend the discussion in Jay Rubin’s Making Sense of Japanese for a second take on how these verbs work.


If you’d like a more visual representation, I made a post previously




That clears it up a lot, thanks! I’ve forgotten so much N5/N4 stuff over the years, I definitely need to go over it.

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My teacher taught transitive and intransitive verbs very well but now I’m not understanding intransitive verb and 受身形 but I can’t put a finger on where I don’t understand to my teacher. I guess I haven’t understood completely 受身形?? For example, the door is opened. ドアが開きます、if I want to say the door is opened by someone, it’s the same? 受身形 is same as passive voice, right?

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Intransitive and passive are different. Hopefully this example clears things up:


Is that when passive voice is used, the particle should be をnot が?

Passive voice is used when you want to say that something was done by someone/something. Since someone is doing the action, it’s going to be a transitive verb. But you’re changing how it’s expressed. Let’s say someone at your cookie, but you don’t know by whom. In Japanese you could simply say クッキーを食べられた (“my cookie was eaten”). (Of course, you may know who ate your cookie, but phrased it this way to change the focus from the person who ate the cookie to the fact that it was eaten.) The important thing is that it’s still transitive so it still uses を, unlike an intransitive verb which can’t have a direct object.


thank you it’s clearer to me now

Just a note that this is called suffering passive, and it’s a more advanced topic than just the normal passive.

(私の)クッキーが食べられた is how you would say the simple passive “(My) cookie was eaten” where it doesn’t specify who it was eaten by. And it doesn’t have any inherently attached emotional impact to it.


Yeah, that’s true. I tried looking up some examples to make sure my explanation was correct, and naturally every example I found used を. :joy:

Hopefully I didn’t cause additional confusion.


An appropriate name, given the example sentence


I got a question on grammar but I’m not sure how to explain it, apologies in advance if it’s not comprehensible but I took a break from jap study and now everything is confused

How are sentences like 何を言ってるんだ a question? I would expect a question to end in か or contracted but ending in だ looks affirmative to me, so is it because of the 何 at the beginning?


Casual form verbs (and だ) don’t use か to make a question. The question is instead inferred from a question mark in writing, or the tone (and the 何) in speech.

You can make it a more explicit question by attaching a ですか to the end, but that also adds some additional politeness.

So for example, the casual form of “何を食べますか” would be “何を食べる?”.

I learned years ago that adding か to casual form verbs gives it a blunt tone usually, but I’m not completely sure of the nuance behind it. You’ll see it occasionally though, but it’s very casual in my experience.


Thanks, all clear!

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Anyone know what this やんなっちゃう in もう...やんなっちゃう... is? Dictionary isn’t helping