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I do know about くれる and あげる that mean "to give" and it depends on the speaker's perspective and the concept with "uchi" and "soto", because that's how I learned them, but I still have trouble, even more when I don't have the corresponding particles.

Let me give an example and my take on くれる in this sentence, so that you can perhaps tell me if it makes sense. This is a simple example that I came up with:

あなたがくれた辞書を使っています。

"I'm using the dictionary I received from you."
I understand the fact that I was the one who received, but if I were to use another example:

あなたがくれた辞書を使いますか。

Can it be translated as "Do you use the dictionary you got/received?" or "The dictionary you got, are you using /will you use it?"

If not, then what does it require to be translated like that and to be ambiguous?

Imagine if someone, a friend maybe asks you "Hey are you using that thing you got?"
and the friend doesn't mention someone else (like, "Are you using the thing Michiko gave you?) I apologize if it's sounds weird...I would really like to hear some opinions on this matter and perhaps some better examples.

Thank you!

  • No. くれる means "to get", but it only refers to oneself (i.e. "I get/got"). If you want to say "you get/got", you have to use もらう. – Ben Steffan May 25 '17 at 16:28
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No, it can not be translated like that. If you want to express that あなた is the one who received something, you have to use もらう, i.e.

あなたがもらった辞書を使いますか。

"Do you use the dictionary you received?"

I do not understand what you mean by "ambiguous", but if you meant that it's not clear who the giver is, then もらう without another object will suffice:

  • あなたが本をもらった。You received a book.

  • あなたが彼女に本をもらった。You received a book from her.

  • あなたが彼女から本をもらった。You received a book from her.

から and に can be used interchangeably.

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Probably the best way to think of this is to assume the following:

あげる = you give to someone

あなたあげた手紙 = The letter I gave to you

くれる = someone gave to you

あなたくれた手紙 = The letter that you gave to me

So, both of these words mean "to give", but in different directions. あげる is from your point of view going out, and くれる is also from your point of view, but coming in.

Separate from these is the verb もらう = to receive, which is more general:

あなたからもらった手紙 = The letter that I received from you

  • Thank you for the examples! So, I wasn't too far of from what I understood in the manga that I was reading. I wanted to make sure that the あなたがくれた part translates as " that you gave to me" as per your example. I understood in the same way but it was quite weird considering what that character in the manga said next. Anyways, thank you very much! – Alice B. Rabbit May 25 '17 at 19:05

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