Shape たり - Tari - Express repetitions of actions

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

In short, 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 (-ta) form 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 -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 I passed)

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

Without -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;
  • He sang and danced last night;

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


The second sentence shows one action first and then another.

  • 食べて寝る
  • neru tabete
  • Eat and then sleep

With -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 sing, dance, etc.)

One of the differences of -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, it indicates that these actions are generally repeated.

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 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 am not going to do things like laugh at you;
  • I will not laugh (or make fun of you);

Turning verbs into verbs with -tari

Portuguese Verb Ta shape Tari shape
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
read 読む - yomu 読んだ 読んだり
to dance 踊る - odoru 踊った 踊ったり

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


To continue a sentence after using -tari 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 we’ll see more examples so you can understand the shape more -tari.

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 of kudasai;
  • Even if my Japanese is wrong, please don't laugh at me or anything;

It sounds more discreet and soft than saying: Please don't laugh at me.笑わないで下さい。 (kudasai 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 this is your first date, you shouldn't be stingy or anything;
  • To the letter (Don't get distracted) It's better than using usar 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?
  • Will you 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 will be in trouble if he knows what I feel for him;

Emphasis Examples 

  • 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 is no way for me to 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;
  • Do not follow any strangers;

たりして (tarishite) = maybe, maybe, maybe…

In an 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 at koto ga sukidatatrishite ...
  • Maybe Maggie likes Max, you know ...;
  • Does it 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 start living on my own, 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 the… Kore of 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;
  • Perhaps this is (can 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 don't come;
  • 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, sometimes I'm 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 in and out;
  • 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 speak 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 is not easy to understand this all of a sudden, just having a dialogue and living the day to day you will remember to use the form -tari at the right times. I hope the examples have helped. I also hope your comment and possible sharing! Any questions or suggestions, just talk.

A small 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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