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A common word in Japanese, meaning "all-you-can-drink", is "飲み放題". It is "放題" - as much as you would like - appended to the verb-stem of "飲む". It is the same rule for instance, for: 食べ放題, 読み放題, (電話)かけ放題 etc...

Why is it then "やりたい放題" as opposed to "やり放題"?


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    You seem to have run into a somewhat common issue. Google results estimates cannot be taken too seriously. When paging through the results of your searches, I get 26 pages and 17 pages, leaving both expressions rather rare and neither being particularly preferred. – jkerian Dec 16 '15 at 15:25
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    In kotonoha.gr.jp/shonagon, やりたい放題 has 74 hits and やり放題 has 12 hits. – Darcinon Dec 16 '15 at 16:37
  • @jkerian You only get 26 pages because results are omitted, though, right? There are still about 1.5 million hits. – Amani Kilumanga Dec 17 '15 at 0:09
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    Unfortunately, you don't know how many hits there are. Google only provides estimates, and they've never really tried to make the estimates particularly accurate. We can't conclude from the result estimates alone that either expression is common or rare. (I think this is a good question, though.) – snailcar Dec 17 '15 at 7:18
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    From the Google Japanese Web N-gram corpus: やりたい放題 306350, やり放題 53050 – snailcar Dec 17 '15 at 11:08
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やりたい放題 is a bit different from other ○○放題. It's an idiomatic phrase which primarily refers to someone's tyrant-like, irresponsible, self-indulgent behavior. Because it usually has a negative connotation, it's less likely to serve as a marketing phrase (except something like this).

母親が亡くなって以降、あの王女はやりたい放題だ。

やり放題 is less common and may refer to the same thing as やりたい放題. But actually やり放題 is the word that sounds closer to "all-you-can-X" as in 飲み放題, 食べ放題, マンガ読み放題, etc. That's why you got many results from manicure salons (ネイルが○○円でやり放題) and sex-related articles. Unless properly modified (eg レトロゲームやり放題, インターネットやり放題), I personally feel やり放題 can be easily associated with sexual contexts. Please use it wisely.

  • I always thought やりたい放題 was a positive expression (essentially equal to やり放題 without the sexual connotation) that sometimes was used to describe the bad behavior and connotation you described. Do you have any reference for that? It's interesting to see the unchecked misinterpretation of nuance I can have. – Amani Kilumanga Dec 20 '15 at 2:39
  • @AmaniKilumanga Judging from the results of BCCWJ Corpus, it can safely be said that やりたい放題 is mostly negative, and only sometimes neutral. – naruto Dec 20 '15 at 4:43

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