In Japanese, たり
is a ‘conjunction particle’ that is used in exactly the same way as て
. However, instead of having the nuance of ‘then’, or ‘and’, it has the nuance of ‘and things like’. Basically, it is used for listing sequences of events that do not happen in a specific order.
The last たり
in any sequence will almost always be followed by する
for past tense).
On my days off, I do things like watch tv and sleep at home.
At the party, I did things like eat and drink.
From these examples we can see that たり
will sometimes be said as だり
. This happens with the same verbs that usually use だ for past tense (like 読（よ）んだ), or で
for the て
form ( like 泳（およ）いで). This will not change the meaning at all, and is only to help make the words easier to say.
To summarize, the difference between て
form, and たり
is as follows.
Events in order - I did (A) て
, (B) て
, (C) て
, (D) た.
Events in no specific order - I did (D) たり
, (B) たり
, (A) たり
, (C) たりした
is frequently used when there is only one verb in the sentence. This just means that the speaker did ‘things like (A)’, without specifically listing anything else.
In the past, I used to swim in that lake over there. (Among other things)
In cases where a する
verb is the last verb in a particular sequence, たり
will often be omitted.
I do things like study, eat snacks, and also clean. (In no specific order)