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I would like to translate the following sentence. I am in particular having trouble with the portion in bold.

You should eat or drink something sweet before exercising.

How does one list multiple actions without implying that they are all occurring?

My likely non-sensible guesses are as below:

運動する前には甘いものを食べたり飲んだりしたほうがいいです。

運動する前には甘いものを食べか飲みしたほうがいいです。

You could probably replace "eat or drink" with something like "consume," but I am looking for a construct that I can extend to other similar situations as well.

For example:

I either kill or get killed.

I would be crushed if you were to die or get severely injured.

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"You should eat or drink something sweet before exercising."

can be said as:

「[運動]{うんどう}する[前]{まえ}には、(なにか)[甘]{あま}いものを[食]{た}べるか[飲]{の}むかしたほうがいいです。」

In other words, I just used the common construct:

「Verb A + + Verb B + + する

and changed 「する」 to 「した」 to go with 「ほうがいい」.

In real life, as you said yourself, one might just use "to consume" instead of using two verbs 食べる and 飲む. That shorter sentence would be:

「運動する前には、(なにか)甘いものを[摂]{と}ったほうがいいです。」

(The first one of your pair of sentences is ungrammatical with the redundant 「食べたりしたりした」 part. The 「したり」 part would need to be dropped. The second sentence is also ungrammatical. We do not say either 「食べか」 or 「飲みした」 to mean anything, but it was a nice attempt.

As far as grammar, you could say 「食べたり飲んだりしたほうがいい」, but if you did, it would sound as if you were saying one should take a long time consuming a fairly large amount of food and drink. Native speakers would tend to think of something meal-size upon hearing/reading that phrase.)

Finally, your examples at the bottom.

「(おれは)やるやられるだ。」 I know I went slangy here, but I just could not go textbookish with something like "I either kill or get killed.", could I?

「[君]{きみ}が[死]{し}んだり[大]{おお}けが(を)したりしたら、ボクは[打]{う}ちひしがれるだろう。」

In this sentence 「したりしたら」 is completely fine because we are using the phrase 「大けが(を)する」. It is different from the ungrammatical 「食べたりしたりした」 that I mentioned above.

  • Thank you again! I was actually not aware of 「Verb A + か + Verb B + か + する」. I'm surprised something like this has not appeared in any of my textbooks. – seafood258 Feb 20 '16 at 0:49
  • Ah, I'm not sure how I ended up typing 「食べたりしたりする」. (haha) – seafood258 Feb 20 '16 at 0:50
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Maybe try か to show "or" as shown here

A + か + B + か

運動する前に甘いものを食べる飲んだ方がいいです。 (You can't put the second か here)

私は殺す殺される。I either kill or get killed.

I'm not sure if it applies to all the cases that you've listed, it mentions on that website that it only applies to a "yes-no embedded question".

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