Consider the following part of a sentence:


Here, the subject of the sentence is the person who is the "giver". Furthermore, "親切に" is like an adverb for 教えてくれた. In English, a potential translation is "she kindly taught me".

Now consider this alternate phrasing:


Here, the subject of the sentence is the person who is the "receiver". To show this, we might translate the sentence like "I had her teach me".

The problem is: what does 親切に ("kindly") mean in this case?

As far as English is concerned, there is definitely a difference between

I kindly had her teach me


I had her kindly teach me

... which brings us to another question: In "親切に教えてくれた", is it the teaching that is done kindly, or is it the "giving" that is done kindly?

In conclusion, how are くれる and もらう affected by adverbs, and how do adverbs change when changing a sentence from くれる to もらう?

1 Answer 1


I will start from the end. くれる and もらう are auxiliary verbs, which modify main verb. Auxiliary verbs never modified by adverbs. So, in both cases it is "kindly taught".

Also, adverbs is not always sound natural in English if translated literally, that doesn't mean they changed somehow in Japanese.

Second sentence may be translated as

I was kindly taught.

  • 1
    "Auxiliary verbs never modified by adverbs" seems like a useful statement to keep in mind. Do you have a source for that statement? I'm failing at google and not able to find one. Commented Sep 16, 2018 at 8:12
  • I'm not sure if this is stated somewhere directly. But I guess you can infer this from the fact that adverbs modify verb that follow it and all auxiliary verbs immediately follow main verb and it impossible grammatically to put adverb there. I mean if you put adverb right after main verb (when main verb form allow it, e.g. te-form), then auxiliary verb will not function as auxiliary verb, but rather will be separate verb.
    – sklott
    Commented Sep 16, 2018 at 8:26
  • your logic makes sense to me, but I wish I could do more research Commented Sep 16, 2018 at 8:30
  • I found one "cotrary" example. You can insert adverb before ない in ではない. But then again I'm not completely sure if this ない is auxiliary verb or adjective.
    – sklott
    Commented Sep 16, 2018 at 12:07

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