Tari Form - Expressing Action Repetitions

The form -tari (~たり) is used to list some things that were done and the order in which they were done doesn't matter. In other words, it serves to talk about consecutive actions that happened, what is done on a daily basis, etc. Simply put, se refers to the enumeration/or repetition of various activities.

Briefly, it is a structure used to exemplify actions taken by the subject. It is also a structure that expresses the repetition of actions or facts.

To understand this article, we recommend knowing the form (-ta) that is used to indicate: that the action happened in the past; that the action has already been completed. Even the tari form can be written with ( たりします / たりして / たりする ). Before using tari, you need to put the verb in the form –OK and add the laughs.

Let's start by showing some examples, so you can understand the functionality of the form -tari;


  • 休日は,食べたり寝たりして過ごしています;
  • Kyuujitsu wa tabetari netari shite sugoshite imasu;
  • I spend my days off eating and sleeping, etc. (or passed)

But you must be wondering, wouldn't it be better to use the form (-te)? Let's see other examples;

without the -Tari

In the first sentence you are saying that you are doing this and that. 

  • 昨夜は 歌って踊った。
  • Sakuya wa utatte odotta;
  • I sang and danced last night;

Note: The speaker is focusing on two actions, singing and dancing, that's all.

The second sentence shows first one action and then another.

  • 食べて寝る
  • black tablet
  • eat and then sleep

with the -tari

Do this and that and other things.

  • 昨夜は歌ったり踊ったりした;
  • Sakuya wa utattari odottari shita;
  • I sang and danced last night. (I did things like singing, dancing, etc.)

One of the differences with -tari is that the order of the verb does not matter.

  • 食べたり寝たりする
  • Tabetari netari suru;
  • Eat and sleep, etc.;

Another effect that the -tari form does is that it indicates that something is done regularly, this indicates that these actions are usually repeated.

The artigo is still half finished, but we recommend opening it to read the following later:

Ask questions with -tari

You can also use ~たり(tari) to ask someone if they usually do something. In this case, normally, only one ~ tari is used. Example:

  • 漫画を 読ん だり しま すか;
  • Manga o yondari shimasu ka?
  • Do you do things like read manga?
  • (Can be translated as: Do you read manga?)

Negative form:

You can also use the negative form of -tari to say that you don't usually do something.

  • 笑っ たり しな いよ;
  • Warattari shinai yo;
  • I won't do things like laugh at you;
  • I won't laugh (or make fun of you);

Turning verbs into verbs with -tari

Portuguese Verb Form Ta Tari form
to do する - suru した したり
sing 歌う - utau 歌った 歌ったり
eat 食べる - taberu 食べた 食べたり
write 書く - kaku 書いた 書いたり
to read 読む - yomu 読んだ 読んだり
to dance 踊る - odoru 踊った 踊ったり

obs: -rate will come -dari if the verb ends with "ん-N"


To continue a sentence after using the -rate you must use "して" otherwise you must end the sentence with one of the conjugations below:


  • たりする (= tarisuru)
  • たりします (= tari shimasu) (Formal)


  • たりした (= tarishita)
  • たりしました (= tarishimashita) (Formal)


To conclude, let's see more examples so you can understand more about the form –rate.

You can use -tari to soften your sentence and keep it from being too direct.

  • 私の日本語が間違っていても笑ったりしない下さい。
  • Watashi no nihongo ga machigatte ite mo warattari shinai de kudasai;
  • Even if my Japanese is wrong, please don't laugh at me or anything;

It sounds more discreet and softer than saying: Please don't laugh at me.笑わないで下さい。(kudasai's warawanai.)

  • 初めてのデートだったらケチったりしない方がいいよ。
  • Hajimete no deeto dattara kechittari shianai hou ga iiyo;
  • If it's your first date, you shouldn't be mean or anything;
  • Literally (Don't get distracted) It's better than using ケチらない方がいい (kechiranai hou ga ii.)
  • 旦那に浮気されたりしても平気なの?
  • Danna ni uwaki saretarishite mo heiki nano?
  • Are you going to be okay if you know your husband is having an affair or something?

Examples of condition in the sentence 

  • 私の気持を彼に知られたりしたら困る。
  • Watashi no kimochi wo kare ni shiraretari shitara komaru;
  • I'll be in trouble if he knows how I feel about him;

Examples of Emphasis 

  • この日のこと忘れたりしません!
  • Kono hi no koto wasuretari shimasen!
  • I will never forget today;
  • そんなひどいことしたりしません。
  • Sonna hidoi koto shitari shimasen;
  • There's no way I can do something horrible;
  • 知らない人についていったりしたらいけませんよ。
  • Shiranai hito ni tsuite ittari shitara ikemasen yo;
  • Don't follow any strangers;

たりして ( tarishite) = talvez, pode ser, é possível que...

In informal conversation, we end the sentence with たりして... when it implies some possibility in a subtle way.

  • マギーはマックスのことが好きだったりして…
  • Maggie wa Max no koto ga sukidatatrishite…
  • Maybe Maggie likes Max, you know...;
  • Sound more subtle than 好きなんじゃない? (sukinanjanai?)
  • 一人暮らしをしたらすぐに彼氏ができちゃったりして…
  • Hitori gurashi wo shitara suguni kareshi ga dekichattarishite…
  • If I started living alone, I might be able to get a boyfriend quickly;
  • あ〜あ、これで私達終わりだったりして…
  • Ah a… Kore de watashitachi owaridattarishite;
  • Well, maybe our relationship is over now... I don't know... / I could be more
  • こっちの方がよかったりして…
  • Kocchi no hou ga yokattarishite;
  • Maybe this one is (might be) better, you know..;

Using the same verb in the negative and affirmative form.

  • 学校に来たり来なかったりする生徒がいます。
  • Gakkou ni kitari konakattari suru seito ga imasu;
  • There are students who sometimes come and sometimes they don't;
  • 忙しい日は、食べたり食べなかったりです。
  • Isogashii hi wa tabetari tabenakattari desu;
  • When I'm busy sometimes like sometimes not;

Another examples: 

  • 今日は、雨が降ったりやんだりだ。
  • Kyou wa amega futtari yandari da;
  • Today it has been raining inside and outside;
  • 映画が始まったら携帯電話を使ったり大声で話したりするのはやめましょう。
  • Eiga ga hajimattara keitaidenwa wo tsukattari oogoe de hanashitari suru nowa yamemashou;
  • When the movie starts, don't use your cell phone or talk loudly;
  • 日本語を読んだり書いたりするのは難しい。
  • Nihongo wo yondari kaitari suru nowa muzukashii;
  • It is difficult to read and write Japanese;

Unfortunately I wanted to be able to explain more, it's not easy to understand this overnight, just having dialogue and living day to day you will remember to use the form –rate at the right times. Hope the examples helped. I also look forward to your comment and possible sharing! Any questions or suggestions, just talk.

A little tip, is that you can watch the anime tari tari or look for the opening song that you will understand a little bit of the tari tari way in a fun way.

Source of inspiration and examples: maggiesensei

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