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あなたがプレゼントしてくれたカバン、今でも大切にしているよ。

あなたがプレゼントしたカバン、今でも大切にしているよ。

I can't understand why してくれた is the right form to say the bag you gave me as a present in the past tense.

3

1) あなたがプレゼントしてくれたカバン、今{いま}でも大切{たいせつ}にしているよ。

2) あなたがプレゼントしたカバン、今でも大切にしているよ。

Both sentences are grammatical, but they mean completely different things. I am sure many other users here will thank you for asking this question because this is an extremely common mistake among Japanese-learners.

Present-giver:

1) the listener (あなた)

2) the listener (あなた)

Present-receiver:

1) the speaker (unmentioned) -- "me"

2) a third person (unmentioned) -- "Bob", "Mr. Takahashi", etc.

「くれる」 expresses an action being performed for (the benefit of) the speaker and not for anyone else. The English equivalent of this would be "doing something for/to me".

Thus, the two sentences mean:

1) I still treasure the bag that you gave me as a present.

2) (Someone) still treasures the bag that you gave (him/her) as a present.

Strictly speaking, however, it would be more natural to say 2) as:

あなたがプレゼントしてあげたカバン、今でも大切にしているよ。

Unlike 「くれる」, 「あげる」 expresses an action being performed for a person other than the speaker.

  • thanks. So, either「くれる」or「あげる」should always be attached to a verb, if that verb is an action that was done for someone's sake? What I mean is, for example is this: 「私の兄は彼の車を運転させた。」 less correct than this: 「私の兄は私に彼の車を運転させてくれた。」? – ericfromabeno Jul 16 '18 at 8:11
  • @ericfromabeno It depends. You don't use くれる when you don't mean your position to thank the giver. Btw you call your family 彼? – user4092 Jul 16 '18 at 20:36

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