For giving/receiving among people other than me, my family, my friends or anyone I am close with (外->外), the book says to use あげる. もらう can also be used for anyone->anyone. Is it wrong to use くれる for 外->外?

To be precise, if A and B are in 外(soto), A->B,

We can say AがBにCをあげました。 BがAにCをもらいました。

But is it wrong to say? AがBにCをくれました。

If I see this sentence, can I assume that B is in 内 of the speaker?

  • What book do you mean by "the book"? What exactly did it tell you? Jun 19, 2023 at 8:41

1 Answer 1


Apart from this special usage, you can safely assume くれる is exclusively used when the recipient is someone the speaker considers to be in their in-group.

That’s when it is used as a standalone verb. It is not always the case when it is used as a helper verb in the [V て-form]-くれる construction, in which case the speaker feels benefited by the action of the verb regardless of who the recipient of that action may be.

If you feel benefited from someone giving some object to someone you don’t consider to be in your in-group, you can say あげてくれる. In the first of the two sentences below, the cat is most certainly yours. In the second, it could be a stray cat you couldn’t stand watching starving.



(Some might say this use of あげる is incorrect and it should be やる, but it is not uncommon.)

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