Which one of the following is correct?

  1. いつお金を返してくれますか。
  2. いつお金を返してあげますか。

And what's the difference?


If you want to say "When will you pay me back the money?", you can say いつお金を返してくれますか.

いつお金を返してあげますか would mean "When will you pay back the money (to someone other than me)".


'Which one is correct' may not a proper question. They are used in different conditions.

By JEES guide, Basically 「あげる」has meaning "give", but when objective is 'our man', it becomes to「くれる」. (Those 'our man' means me or my sided ones, such as my family, my workers, my friends, etc)


  1. いつお金を返してくれますか means 'When will you give my/my friend's/etc money back?'
  2. いつお金を返してあげますか means 'When will you give him/her/etc(anyone not my side) money back?'

If you let me know the context of this conversation, then it could make a clear correct/incorrect one.


This is typically covered pretty well in Japanese textbooks, but here's the rough explanation:

Any time you talk about an exchange between two people, there is an implied social standing. In a company, this is just the organisational hierarchy (with people who are at the same level as you being "higher" than you), in other social situations it might be something like "you < your family < everyone else". Sometimes, this is shown as concentric circles, starting at you and radiating outwards to encompass people only tangentially associated with you (note that 99% of the time you are the bottom of the list).

If the exchange is going up in this hierarchy (e.g. you are giving something to or doing something for your boss), you use あげる. If the exchange is coming down the hierarchy (e.g. your mother's friend gave her something), you use くれる. The ~てあげる and ~てくれる forms are just used when the thing being "given" is an action, rather than a thing (i.e. doing something for someone).

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