oshieta is the plain past tense of oshieru and oshiete kureta is usually translated as the past tense of oshieru too. What is the difference between them?

2 Answers 2


In many contexts, the two translate similarly, but it might help to look at longer sentences to see why they are not identical.


= [you - implied subject] taught me math.


= [you - implied subject] deigned to teach me math.

くれる means something like "lowered yourself" / "gifted me by" ...

In other words, it emphasizes that the person who taught you math did you a kindness by teaching you math.

The converse emphasis which you didn't ask about (but @Shoko kindly mentions) is


this emphasizes that I received math instruction from you.

you can also upgrade the phrases with [尊敬語]{そんけいご} to


Here, you are further emphasizing how great of a thing you've received.

You can also degrade yourself with [謙譲語]{けんじょうご} and change くれる into くださる. This emphasizes how much you think someone was doing something beneath their station by helping you.


[教]{おし}え​た is the past of teach, basically when you have taught something, while 教えてくれる means to be taught by someone else, is like someone is teaching you or you are receiving the teaching, for more info: Best Japanese Explanations!!

  • 3
    教えてくれる means to be taught by someone else ... you are receiving the teaching -> "I am taught by someone" "I am receiving the teaching" はどちらかというと「教えてもらう」のほうが近いような気が・・・
    – chocolate
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 1:47

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