あげる (ageru) Basic Japanese Grammar (1)

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㊦ あげる (1) Verb (Group 2)

Someone gives something to a person who is not a member of the giver’s in group but whose status is about equal to that of the giver.

Meaning: Give

Example

私は良子に花をあげた・あげました
Watashi wa Yoshiko ni hana wo ageta.
I gave Yoshiko flowers.

大野さんは山本さんに本をあげた
Oono-san wa yamamoto-san ni hon o ageta.
Ms. Ono gave Mr. Yamamoto a book.

君はアンに何をあげましたか。
Kimi wa an ni nani o agemashita ka.
What did you give to Ann.

Notes

あげる is one of a set of giving and receiving verbs; the meaning is ‘give’. However, あげる cannot be used when the indirect object is the first person (i.e., I or we) or a person with whom the speaker empathizes (usually a member of the speaker’s in-group). Thus, (1a) and (1b) are ungrammatical.

1a. *花子は私に本をあげたHanako wa watashi ni hon o ageta. Hanako gave me a book.

1b. *花子は私のむすこ に本をあげたHanako wa watashi no musuko ni hon o ageta. Hanako gave my son a book.

The reason for this is as follows: あげる requires the giver’s point of view or a neutral point of view when describing an event. When an event involves the first person or a person the speaker empathizes with, however, the event is normally described from that person’s point of view. Therefore, if the first person or a person the speaker empathizes with is a recipient in a あげる sentences, a viewpoint conflict arises, making the sentences ungrammatical. The grammatical sentences for (1a) and (1b) are (2a) and (2b), respectively.

2a. 花子は私に本をくれた。Hanako wa watashi ni hon o kureta. Hanako gave me a book.

2b. 花子は私のむすこに本をくれた。Hanako wa watashi no musuko ni hon o kureta. Hanako gave my son a book.

The humble polite version of あげる is 差し上げる (sashiageru). Example:

私は先生に本をさしあげましたWatashi wa sensei ni hon o sashiagemashita. I gave my teacher a book.

The degree of politeness expressed in 差し上げる (sashiageru) is higher than that of 下さる (kudasaru) and it いただく, which are the polite versions of くれる and もらう, respectively.

When the giver is in a higher position than the recipient or the recipient is a person very close to the speaker, やる is used instead of あげる. Examples:

a. 私は弟に本をやった。Watashi wa otouto ni hon o yatta. I gave my little brother a book.

b. ひろしは猫にミルクをやった。Hiroshi wa neko ni miruku o yatta. Hiroshi gave milk to the cat.

c. Tom is the speaker’s intimate friend.
私はトムにケーキをやりました。Watashi wa tomu ni keeki o yarimashita.
I gave a cake to Tom.

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