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前田は僕に辞書をあげた。
前田は僕に辞書をくれた。
前田は僕に辞書をやりました。
Maeda gave me a dictionary.

These sentences have the same meaning. The first sentence used "ageta" as a verb, the second used "kureta", and the third used "yarimashita". What is the difference between these sentences? Are all of these sentences correct?

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Having an understanding of the 上下関係 and うちそと in Japanese culture might make this easier to understand.

There will always be exceptions but a simple way of thinking about it is:

  • くれる if you are the receiver. This is also true if the receiver is someone from your うち and the giver is from your そと (like a family friend giving something to your kid).
  • やる emphasizes the lower status of the receiver. So it's usually used if the receiver is an animal, or if used as an accessory verb, to make it especially humble.
  • あげる for all other cases.

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