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The narrator is complaining about men on the train making noise and says:

車掌さんが彼等に注意をしてくれるのを待ちました。

I'm uncertain of the interpretation of に together with くれる here. I can see two possibilities:

a) に translates as to. She waited for the conductor to give a warning to the men and that would benefit her. (I think this is more likely)

b) に translates as for. She waited for the conductor to give a warning for the men and that would benefit the men (because it will improve their character or it will stop someone going and punching them for example).

Are both my interpretations grammatically valid (with and without the context) or have I failed to appreciate a grammar point which makes one of them obviously wrong? Thanks.

Edit: Perhaps I should explain further. I'm have little doubt that a) is the correct answer, but I'm interested to know if b) is a grammatically valid interpretation. For example:

父は私にカメラを買ってくれた。

My father bought a camera for me.

This sentence has the same structure but the person receving the benefit is the one marked by に.

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I think that if you take this sentence and add a general subject to it, the meaning becomes clearer, i.e.:

私は車掌さんが彼等に注意をしてくれるのを待ちました。

As you can see, it is easier to understand now who will benefit from what action:

"As for me, I waited for the conductor to give them a warning[an action which I would benefit from]" Keep in mind that くれる is used when the direction of a certain action's benefit is from whoever you are talking about towards yourself(the main subject).

  • Hmm, silly me. I forgot about the direction of くれる. If I replaced it with あげる, would b) be a valid grammatical interpretation? – user3856370 Sep 19 '15 at 16:17
  • It would make no sense to use あげる in this context since it would imply that you are the one giving the warning, and trying to think about it in the grammatical context of that sentence really gives me a headache. あげる means that the direction of the benefit is from you. – strawberry jam Sep 19 '15 at 16:19
  • くれる and あげる give me a headache in general, but you get the tick. Thanks. – user3856370 Sep 19 '15 at 16:21
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    This is a good link to learn from: maggiesensei.com/2010/02/22/… – strawberry jam Sep 19 '15 at 16:30
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    @user3856370 Technically you can use やる or あげる in this case (even if you are not the agent) but they sound too patronizing to use, especially considering you are only a passenger too. – user4092 Sep 20 '15 at 6:40
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Well, in this case the answer is of course a), and I don't really know why would it translate to "for". 注意をしてくれる means "he will warn them(thankfully/which I will be thankful of)", so the one benefiting is clearly "myself".

  • For those of us with less insight than yourself perhaps you could explain why b) is so clearly wrong. – user3856370 Sep 19 '15 at 15:51
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    Interpretation of b is not necessarily wrong, but that's not the direct interpretation of the sentence. くれる's benefit always belongs to one who possesses perspective (in this case, you). Even if you recognize that it would be their benefit, it eventually means that you are content with it. – user4092 Sep 20 '15 at 6:48

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