In an exercise in my textbook, there's the following instruction in one of the exercises:


The bold もらいましょう really confuses me. I'd expect something like -て くれましょう or あげましょう but "to receive"? "Let's receive the favor of having written our friends favorite word"?

It kind of works, but it feels so funny that I wonder whether I misinterpreted the function of this -て もらう construction here xD


1 Answer 1


Well, first 「もらう」 doesn't not really mean "receive the favor..." as you translated it, but it means most of the time "get...". A lot of times, "get" is the most accurate translation you can get for 「もらう」, some examples:

一口もらっていい? = can I get a bite? (to eat) or can I take a bite?

もらったカードを使って。 = Use the card you got.

彼にやってもらったことをちゃんと思い出して。 = Just remember the things you got him doing

I am not a translator but what you want to be doing learning a language is not perfectly translating into your mother tongue (which is useless if you don't want to become translator), but write literal translation which will help you understand the real logic of japanese through your mother tongue. So you should not be worried about weird translations because the "logic of japanese language" is very different than english's.

Anyway, if there is a word you could think of as "do a favor...", it is 「~くれる」, because the one who does the action of 「くれる」 is a third person that does something (or gives something) to you/your circle:

彼がやってくれたこと。 = The things he did for me.

彼がやったこと。 = The things he did.

Anyway to sum it up, 「もらう」 does not have imply a "favor" or something, just the fact that you get something, or someone to do an action:

友達のいちばん好きな言葉を書いてもらいましょう。その読み方と意味を質問してください。 = Let's get (them?) write their friends' most liked word. And ask them the meaning and reading.

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    Let's get (them?) write their friends' most liked word. No no... 友達のいちばん好きな言葉を書いてもらいましょう means "Let's get our friends write their most liked word" / "Have your friends write their most favorite words" (≂ 友達に、彼(ら)の一番好きな言葉を書いてもらいましょう)
    – chocolate
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 14:39

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