I was watching this video about てもらう and てくれる, and I don't really understand why てくれる always uses が, and てもらう always uses に to mark the person who does something for the speaker, especially about に and てもらう. For example, what's the difference between the following sentences?



why does てもらう always use に in the video? And not が?

2 Answers 2


もらう ("to receive") is a verb that can take up to three particles (i.e., trivalent). ABCもらう means "A (gratefully) receives C from B".

She received a ring from her mother.
(が is replaced to は because it's the topic of the sentence)

が (or は) marks the subject who is the receiver, and に (or から) marks the giver. These rules won't change when もらう is used as a donatory subsidiary verb (i.e., when the given thing is a "favor" instead of a tangible object). Therefore:

Sakura was invited to a party (by someone, and she was grateful).
(Read this as though Sakura received an imaginary invitation.)

[I/Someone] was invited to a party by Sakura (and I/he/she was grateful).

Of course you can use both が (は) and に and say something like this:

Taro was invited to a party by Hanako (and Taro was grateful).


I remember when I first learned about してもらう、してあげる and the like, it helped me to think translate it in my head as "to receive the action of ...~ing" or "to give the action of ...~ing" :


Sakura received the action of being invited to the party.

i.e.; Sakura got invited to the party.


[Someone] received the action of being invited to the party by Sakura.

i.e.; Sakura invited them to the party.

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