We can make partial lists nouns with the や and など particles, but what about verbs? Similarly to how と resulted in an exhaustive list, the use of the te form to link verbs expresses that you only did the actions described.

今日きょう勉強べんきょうして、友達ともだちあそんで、ものきました。
Today I studied, hung out with my friends, and then went shopping.

In many cases when someone asks us what we did over the weekend we’d reply inferring that among other things we did x, y, and z: “You know, studied a little, met with friends—that sort of thing.” や and など let us create this nuance with nouns. For verbs we use ~たり.

For this structure we need to use the past tense of the verb in its standard form.

【Verb: Past】【Verb: Past】 する

Note that the tense of the sentence is determined by the form of the final “to do” verb at the end (and it is always the “to do” verb that is used at the end). Note further that while here and in just about all the Japanese textbooks it is introduced as the “たり” form, the た might be a だ depending on the verb you’re conjugating.

e.g. to swim, およぐ → おより.

Some example sentences:

今日きょうは、勉強べんきょうたり友達ともだちあそだりものたりしました
Today I studied, hung out with my friends, went shopping and so forth.
今週末こんしゅうまつは、友達ともだちたり掃除そうじたりするおもいます。
This weekend I think I’ll meet friends, clean the house, and so on.

We can also use 〜たり with the negative past tense but this is less common.

最近さいきんあめったりらなかったりするおおいですよね。
Recently there seem to be many days when it rains on and off.

We can use 〜たり introduced in the last section with adjectives, as well; although you will more often see it used with verbs. Here it is used to infer changing states between A and B. The grammatical structure remains the same as for adjectives. We need the past tense of the adjective.

裕輔ゆうすけ先月せんげつ仕事しごとはどうでしたか?
YusukeHow was work last month?
沙織さおりいそがしかったりひまだったりでした。
SaoriSometimes busy, sometimes free.
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