I know that もらう has the meaning of 'get' or 'receive', but I am confused with it when it is used in the sentence below:


How do I understand the auxiliary verb 'もらう' in this sentence? Can anyone help me translate the sentence to English, please ?

1 Answer 1


This is the 〜てもらう form. It means to have/get someone to do something (often as a favour for you). The focus is on the speaker's action more than the person doing the favour; Contrast this with 〜てくれる (参考: Is it ok to use ~て下さりました instead of ~ていただきました?).

  • 面白いのでたくさんの人に読んでもらいたい → This is very interesting, so I'd like (to get) a lot of people to read it.

Note that here, without further context this is more of a neutral wish than focusing on actually receiving a favour (roughly equivalent to 〜てほしい).

  • But I think that this sentence "今日は京都大学の田中先生に来ていただきました。" is different from that above. Besides, Can I switch "もらう" to "くれる" in the sentence above?
    – user4751
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 16:49
  • 2
    今日は京都大学の田中先生に来ていただきました is only different in politeness level. It still means "I got prof. Tanaka to come" or "Prof. Tanaka did me the favour of coming." If you want to change your ex. sentence, it would have to be たくさんの人 *が* 読んでくれたい which 1) sounds weird anyway to say くれたい, and 2) changes the focus to their action instead of your desire.
    – istrasci
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 17:53

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