Grammar Info
N5 Lesson 7: 13/13

Things like ~ and ~

Verb[た] + (Verb[た]) + する
Verb[た] + [する]Verb(した) + する
Verb[た] + (Verb[た]) + します
Verb[た] + [する]Verb(した) + します
Part of Speech Particle
Word Type Conjunctive Particle
Register Standard
品詞 助詞
単語の種類 接続助詞
使用域 一般
In Japanese, たり is a ‘conjunction particle’ that is used in exactly the same way as . 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 (or した for past tense).
  • 休(やす)み日(ひ)家(いえ)テレビ見(み)たり、寝(ね)たりする
    On my days off, I do things like watch tv and sleep.
  • 飲(の)み会(かい)食(た)べたり、飲(の)んだりした
    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 for the 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 form, and たり is as follows.
Events in order - I did (A) , (B) , (C) , (D) た.
Events in no specific order - I did (D) たり, (B) たり, (A) たり, (C) たりした.
たり 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.
  • 昔(むかし)あそこ池(いけ)泳(およ)いだりした
    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.
  • 勉強(べんきょう)たり、おやつ食(た)べたり、掃除(そうじ)します。
    I do things like study, eat snacks, and also clean. (In no specific order)
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At home, I did things like play video games and eat.
I did things like listen to music and read books.
I did things like cleaning and doing the laundry.
Marugoto Elementary 1 (A2) Rikai
Page 146
Genki I
Page 215
Genki I 2nd Edition
Page 255
みんなの日本語 I
Page 122 [CH 19]
Marugoto Elementary 2 (A2) Rikai
Page 98
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 458
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 113