I am having a bit of trouble figuring out which of these is for what; which i have to admit as i am learning more ways to say the same thing then the polite, humble ways to say one or more of those i am getting more and more confused. Ideally i would like a good resource to sift through such examples and clarify which situations belong to which. If you have such a resource i would really appreciate it i will try and piece together my understanding of the "to give" i have in my list.

くれる this one isn't even give its receive, sender is subject and speaker/recipient is marked with に.

もらう this one is receive but is the reverse of the particles of くれる

あげる this one is give for most things with speaker subject and recipient marked with に。

施す this one seems to be used when the speaker is donating to someone/thing speaker is likely the subject followed by に for the recipient.

与える I think this is to award or bestow something on someone of lower standing than yourself. 下さる this says its honorific of to bestow i think its maybe the honorific of あたえる does this means its like bestowing something to someone of higher social standing than the presenter? Like a swordsmith presenting a sword to a samurai or something? 授ける is maybe to bestow or award something of similar social standing but i am not sure.

贈る i think this is used for giving a present 差し上げる appears to be the humble version of あげる but also can be used to graciously offer something? if i remember correctly it cannot be used like てあげる? 給う is honorific version of something? maybe means to give?

賜る seems to be a way of humbling speaking about something received.

I realize this may look like there is a lot because i am combining receive and give (though my resource lists all as give.) but i have several other such examples that are unclear. if you look at what to use for the English word "clear" or "to hit" you will run into at least as much confusion.

  • Why would you say that くれる doesn't mean "give" and then note that the sender is the one performing the action?
    – Leebo
    Commented Nov 11, 2020 at 10:28

1 Answer 1


「くれる」、「もらう」、「あげる」is a special words describing direction of verb. (Of course it's can be used as usual words too)

Explanation below is not theoretical stuff but my own experience. And English is not my mother language, so my explanation may be little bit complicated

Using these words we can understand if A person doing something for B person or opposite. In English We have at least 「I」and 「Me」, and that is helps to understand meaning. In Japanese we have only 「私」. And 私 = I = Me = Mine ...

So, how we use special direction words:

くれる → Someone do something for me
あげる → I do something for someone
もらう → I get something from someone

Example: I get a gift from friend

(私に)「友達が」プレゼントしてくれる → friend gives me a gift
(私が)「友達に」プレゼントしてもらう → I get a gift from friend
(私が)「友達に」プレゼントしてあげる → I give a gift to friend

So we can throwaway 私 (I) and 友達 (friend) and it still will be clear to understand if 「I doing something for someone」 or 「Someone doing something for me」.

Important notice! Try to avoid あげる direction. It is little bit not polite and looking like your position higher than opponent's position (For example you can use あげる when you doing something for your pet: 犬に肉をあげる → I give meat to dog). When you speaking with people, that will be better use 「He allow me to do something for him」

友達にプレゼントしてあげる → I give a gift to friend [BAD]
友達にプレゼントさせてもらう → I get permission from friend to give a gift him [GOOD]
友達がプレゼントさせてくれる → friend gives me permission to give a gift to him [GOOD]

する → do させる → get persmission to do

If you using 丁寧語 (teineigo) or 敬語 (keigo) you must use polite (gentle) words

usual word → polite word
くれる → くださる
あげる → さしあげる (better than あげる but still not good direction)
もらう → いただく

Other words in your question are just usual verbs using in different situations and contexts.

For example:

与える → to give
与えてあげる → I give something for someone [BAD]
与えてくれる → Someone give me something [GOOD]
与えてもらう → I'm given something from someone [GOOD]

与らせてくれる (= 与えてあげる) → someone permit me to give him [GOOD]
与らせてもらう (= 与えてあげる) → I'm permitted from someone to give him [GOOD]

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