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I was speaking with a friend and at one point in making plans said something like

田中さんに連絡されてもらった後で…

but was corrected to 連絡してもらった後で

I understand how the particles and such work with the もらう but it doesn't make sense to me to use them with a simple する. If it's me who's receiving the task, 私は田中さんにもらう seems correct, but looking at the 連絡する separately doesn't make as much sense: 私は田中さんに連絡する. To make it work with the もらう don't I have to change it to させる?

After this correction, it spurred a further conversation about using もらう and くれる but I feel like I've gotten even more confused.

田中さんは私を車に乗せてくれる
私は田中さんに車に乗せてもらう

These make sense

田中さんは私に車に乗ってもらう

That one doesn't make any sense to me at all.

I guess what I'm looking for is an in depth explanation as to what forms of verbs to use with kureru/morau (transitive? intransitive? passive?) and what particles would need to accompany them.

  • 読ませてもらいたい 読ませていただきたい おかしくないと思いますが・・「~せてもらう」「~せていただく」って結構使いますけど・・「帰らせてもらいます。」「大切に使わせていただきます。」「これは預からせてもらうよ。」 「禁煙とさせていただきます。」とか・・でも「 彼に私は乗らせてもらった」は(車の話なら)「乗せてもらった」のほうが自然のような気がします – Chocolate Aug 3 '17 at 2:59
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So who does the action of 連絡する in this context? AにVしてもらう means "to have A do V", "to receive the favor of doing V from A". The action taker of V is A, and the speaker is grateful to A. You can read lots of examples of A + に + te-form + もらう here. The verb (V) can be intransitive or transitive, and a normal verb or a suru-verb.

Therefore 田中さんに連絡してもらった後で basically means "after Tanaka-san (kindly) has informed (someone of something)...". I don't know the context, but it probably means either of the followings.

  • (I currently do not have the details of the plan, so) I'll have Tanaka-san give the details to you, and after that ...
  • (We won't directly inform someone (else) of the plan, but instead) we'll have Tanaka-san inform this, and after that...

In both cases, note that もらう implies the speaker is grateful to Tanaka-san, not you nor "someone else". Although you may be the person who receives the information, Tanaka-san is the person who kindly takes time, writes an email, for example, and informs you of the plan. This もらう refers to such a kind action.

私は田中さんに車に乗せてもらう is used when 私 is grateful to Tanaka-san for driving the car for 私.

田中さんに連絡されてもらった後で is grammatical but makes little sense, because 連絡される ("to be informed") is usually not something for which one is grateful. You may use the passive voice with もらう like this (although it's uncommon):

  • 花瓶を壊したのは僕だけど、弟に叱られてもらった。
  • Is it fair to say that 連絡してもらう is in some way the same as 連絡される?(Save for the nuance of politeness?) If that's the case, I think I've wrapped my head around the problem I was up against, but if not, it remains a bit unclear. 私は田中さんに連絡されて、それをもらって、良かった 短縮したら 私は田中さんに連絡されてもらってよかった。 But as you said, that's incorrect. If される can just be consistently transformed to してもらう then this will finally be clear I think? 私は田中さんに連絡してもらってよかった。 That's alright, correct? And thank you for your detailed reply!! – lehtia Aug 3 '17 at 3:56
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    No, "to whom you are grateful" and "by whom you're informed" are two different things, although they can be the same person depending on the context. For example, if you don't know the details of the plan and have Tanaka-san contact you to explain the details, then 私は田中さんに連絡してもらった and 私は田中さんに連絡された will describe the same fact (although the nuance is different). You're overthinking it; click the link and read the examples. – naruto Aug 3 '17 at 4:03
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    In other words, 田中さんに連絡してもらう basically describes the same fact as 田中さんが連絡する. Who he contacts/informs depends on the context, but it can be "私". If you want to explicitly mark "the receiver of the information", 田中さんに私に連絡してもらう and 田中さんが私に連絡する would refer to the same fact. – naruto Aug 3 '17 at 4:17
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(誰か)に~してもらう is the base form to say(誰か)に~される as your benefit.

You are receiving the action; 私は田中さんに~してもらう.

So, it becomes 私は田中さん連絡してもらう.

Let's reserve the other verb (して) simple for other occasions. (I suspect we don't really have any occasion to say it in passive.)

「田中さんに連絡されてもらった後で…」
This seems to be saying something so complicated like "After benefitted by Tanaka-san's being made a contact by someone." It has become that Tanaka-san is the one receiving the contact.

田中さんは私を車に乗せてくれる correct
私は田中さんに車に乗せてもらう correct

田中さんは私に車に乗ってもらう grammatical

What it says is that Tanaka-san is going to be benefited by your getting in her/his car. I don't know whether such an occasion exists, but this sentence is, at least, grammatical.


Another formula for you:

(誰か)に~させてもらう

This is to say you'll be benefitted by being allowed to do something.

We say 田中さんに連絡させてもらった後で to pay a respect to 田中さん, and, here, 田中さん is the receiver of the contact.

Ex. 今日はわけあってお隣さん車を置かせてもらった。

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