I read this sentence in a listening exam script from a past paper and I was just wondering what purpose the てもらう serves here. The conversation is as follows;

M: 先生の誕生日に何かあげませんか。

F: いいですね。毎日使ってもらえるものがいいですね。

Is the nuance something like ' something we can have him use everyday....' ?

Would the phrase not work fine without もらう? For example: 毎日使えるものがいいですね。

Thanks in advance!

1 Answer 1


There is no direct equivalent of もらう in English, and "have someone do ~" is just one of the "hacks" to translate this もらう into English. In this case, they are expecting Sensei will use the gift voluntarily, so "we can have him use" may sound off (correct me if I'm wrong).

Nevertheless, this もらう is there because they (M & F) think they will feel happy and thankful if Sensei uses the gift. It may be hard to translate this into English, but it is important in Japanese.

毎日使えるもの also makes perfect sense in this context, but it may sound like they are not thinking about Sensei at this moment (i.e., "something (any)one can use every day"). If they are thinking specifically about Sensei, including his/her sex, personality or hobby (i.e., "something he/she can use every day"), 毎日使ってもらえるもの would sound more natural in Japanese.

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