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I've just come across "〜していたりして" at the end of a sentence in a post on Facebook, so it's probably very casual. Does anyone know the correct meaning and typical usage?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

たりして is used to posit some event as a possibility but something you are not sure about. For example, about the future:


From the nature of this expression meaning "not being sure", it is also used as a hedge when you want to be modest and a bit comical:


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would ひょっとして、さっきのことでまだ怒ってたりして。 translate as "Perhaps (I) might be still mad about what happened a little while ago."? – yadokari May 31 '12 at 14:35
@yadokari Something like that. – user458 May 31 '12 at 14:49
@sawa Thanks, those two points of uncertainty and (possible) humour agree precisely with the opinion of my Japanese wife, but I wasn't about to trust her. ;-) – Nick Westgate May 31 '12 at 21:29

I'm not sure what part you're stuck on, and we can give more relevant answers most of the time if we know the context, but here we go:

している is the present-continuous short form of the verb する (to do).

The 〜たり suffix indicates an incomplete list of one or more actions (more on that here), for example

Read a newspaper, drink coffee, and so on. (or)
Do such things as read a newspaper and drink coffee.

So the best translation I can give without the context here is:

Doing such things as ~

As for why the final する is in て-form, that would be easier to answer if we could see the full sentence.

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Your syntactic analysis is right, but you are missing the most crucial aspect: the particular nuance of this expression. – user458 May 31 '12 at 11:34
Thanks John, I've seen tari-suru but it was confirmation of the difference from that and the meanings that I was after. – Nick Westgate May 31 '12 at 22:25

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