I've always understood the direction of くれる as such:

Outsider ⇒くれる⇒ Me / In-group

and あげる as:

Me / In-group ⇒あげる⇒ Outsider

I was told this direction marks your feeling towards a person as well, so if I were to say:


Here using あげる instead of くれる strongly implies that something is wrong with the relationship between you and your old man.

Yet, くれる is used in a sample sentence from a dictionary (研究社):


Thus my question:
Why does the dictionary use くれる when 彼 is the giver and こじき is the receiver? Is this usage expressing sympathy towards the beggar, or does what follows (てやる) has more to do with it than direction?



「くれてやる」 is an arrogant way of saying 「与{あた}える」("to give"). Person A is giving something to another person whom Person A considers to be lower in status than him/herself.

In other words, 「くれてやる」 roughly has the same meaning as 「あげる/やる」 and not 「くれる」. I know it is confusing, but it just needs to be remembered as a set phrase.

Thus, in the sentence:


"He gave the beggar his best jacket."

the speaker is in the same in-group as 「彼」 and the speaker is being arrogant in using 「くれてやった」 ("gave"). The speaker clearly feels that both s/he and 彼 are higher in status than the beggar.

Therefore, the usage of 「くれてやる」 here is completely correct as long as the speaker feels s/he is superior.

  • Could you tell me if あげてやる is a valid usage in this situation, or is くれてやる the only option? – Yeti Ape Jun 5 '18 at 6:49

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