Grammar Info
N4 Lesson 7: 1/18

To do something for someone, As a favor for

Might sound patronizing and can be rude especially if used with elderly people!

Verb[て]+ あげる
Verb[て]+ あげます
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使用域 敬語
When joining the 接続助詞(せつぞくじょし) , with the る-Verbあげる (to give), it implies that someone is doing something for the benefit of someone else. Literally, this expression means ‘to give/bestow the action of (A) upon (B)’, but translates more naturally as ‘to do (A) for (B)’, or ‘to do (A) as a favor for (B)’.
The receiver of the てあげる action will be marked with , while the doer will be marked with (if mentioned).
  • 父(ちち)妹(いもうと)にお菓子(かし)買(か)ってあげる
    My father buys snacks for my sister.
  • いい、俺(おれ)やってあげる
    It's okay, I'll do it for you.
  • 明日(あした)私(わたし)送(おく)ってあげる
    Tomorrow, I will send you off.
Unfortunately, てあげる can sound quite patronizing in modern Japanese, and should be avoided in situations where someone may take offence to having something done for them (for example, doing something for someone of higher status). This is primarily due to やる (a casual variation of ‘to give’) being phased out.
  • 部長(ぶちょう)、今夜(こんや)俺(おれ)おごってあげる
    Boss, I'll pay for the food tonight. (Natural Japanese, but may be considered rude by the boss)
Fun Fact
Originally, やる was used when referring to giving water to plants, or feeding animals. However, some people started using あげる for these purposes as well, believing that it sounded ‘nicer’. Historically, this actually achieved the opposite result, and some people began to think that あげる was insulting, as it was being used for plants/animals.
  • 犬(いぬ)に餌(えさ)やる。
    To feed the dog. (To give food to the dog because they need it to live)
  • 犬(いぬ)に餌(えさ)あげる
    To feed the dog. (To give food to the dog because you want it to have the best life)
These days, てやる is almost never used, unless you have a very close relationship with someone and are using it jokingly.
  • お前(まえ)食(く)いたいもの何(なに)でも作(つく)ってやる
    I will make anything you want to eat for you.
Slow Male
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I bought flowers for my mother.
Shall we give assistance to (help) that lady?
Since I'm not busy now, I will make dinner for you.
Genki II 1st Edition
Page 34 & 74
みんなの日本語 I
Page 152 [CH 24]
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 2 & 65
Genki II 2nd Edition
Page 100
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 170