From my understanding てくれる and てもらう "mean the same" from the "receiver" point of view, but the way the topic and subject are placed is a bit different, for instance:

僕は友達にゲームのやり方を教えてもらった and 友達は僕にゲームのやり方を教えてくれた (I was taught by my friend how to play the game / My friend taught me how to play the game )

Now, my question is, When the topic is implied and therefore hidden, is it ok to use any of these?

(Talking to my friend) ゲームのやり方を教えてくれた and ゲームのやり方を教えてもらった。

I got this question because latelly i've been hearing a lot of things like these


So is it ok to use both (does the meaning change?), or should I stick to one? Or should I stick to the most common to set phrase in question?

Thanks in advance, and i'm sorry for any mistakes.

Edit: removed ありがとう from the sentence to avoid confusion and misleading from the main point of the question.


2 Answers 2


Personally, the difference is “Who made your friend teach how to play the game?” You? or your friend on his own initiative?

*ゲームするのを教えて sounds a bit funny, so I’ll modify it using やり方.


When I read this sentence, I had a picture in my mind that you had asked your friend to teach you how to play the game, and then he decided to do so.


sounds like your friend took in the situation where you needed his help and decided to teach you how to play the game. Whether or not you had asked him is not known.

The difference between もらう and くれる is the perspective you should see them from... もらう the receiver and くれる the giver.


Which sentence do you think you should use if it is followed by サプライズだったから、すごく嬉しかったんだよ。

The answer is (B), because it implies that she took the initiative in buying the present for you. (A) is saying that you made the first move to get her to buy you a present.


Hope this helps.

  • Thanks for the answer, it definitely helps. By that time I was wondering if they were interchangeable when the topic is omitted. Like (友達は)ゲームやり方を教えてくれた。 and (僕は)ゲームやり方を教えてもらった。Maybe I should avoid omitting the topic in these cases. Jan 15, 2018 at 16:52
  • 1
    I’m glad to hear it helped. Whether or not the topic should be omitted? just depends on context. Context is everything in Japanese. You can omit the topic if it is obvious, but if omitting it can confuse your listeners and readers, then you should actually say the word. Jan 15, 2018 at 21:32

The answer to the question is YES, you CAN! It can be replaced but please remember the subject is different. In the future when you modify the sentence, it's important to remember it.

  • (彼は)ゲームするのを教えてくれた
  • (私は)ゲームするのを教えてもらった

    • Good: 教えてくれてありがとう
    • Wrong: 教えてもらってありがとう

Reason: It can be two parts, "Thanks for" and "I received his teaching" or "He taught me". You can not say thanks for receiving myself in this case.

These are the differences between もらう and くれる.

  • もらう to be given, receive, infected, awarded (私は病気/栄誉/本/給料をもらった )
  • くれる let one have, give, do something for (Only from person to person. 彼は本をくれた, 彼は書いてくれた)

POINT: 彼は私に本をくれた He gave me a book = 私は彼に本をもらった I received a book from him

彼は私に書いてくれた = 私は彼に書いてもらった

くれた sounds a little politer or more formal than もらった.

  • 1
    'くれた sounds a little politer or more formal than もらった.' I was fairly certain it was the other way around.
    – Angelos
    Mar 29, 2017 at 12:09
  • @Nothingatall how do you feel about [ゲームするのを教えてもらった] is it a valid sentence in your opnion? Mar 29, 2017 at 12:31
  • 1
    @FelipeOliveira Yes, it is.
    – Angelos
    Mar 29, 2017 at 12:36

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