Asking this other question has reminded me of another confusion I often have, one of my long standing bad habits that you'd think I'd have sorted after all this time in Japan.

I'm never quite sure how to end a list of two or more things. So, I want to say "I like apples and oranges."

Saying it this way seems weird, because of having and together. It just feels weird in my mouth.


This next option also feels weird, though, because it's like saying, "apples and oranges and like".


Which is right? Or are both wrong?

Does it make a difference if there's more than two items?


1 Answer 1


The most usual way is to attach と to all alternatives except for the last one:


(Unrelated note: “papaya” is usually パパイヤ rather than パパヤ in Japanese.)

Attaching と to all alternatives including the last one is acceptable.


I heard that in older days, と was always attached to all alternatives, but I do not have anything to back up this claim.

The following are ungrammatical.


  • @sawa: I have never thought that the particular form “AとB、C” is accepted. As I understand it, it is just one of the many sloppy ways to omit some of と. Do you have any reference to verify that “AとB、C” is more accepted than, say, “A、BとC”? Oct 4, 2011 at 19:48
  • 2
    @sawa: Thank you for the reference. It is difficult for me to consult a book in Japanese, but I see some webpages mentioning the book and the rule you mentioned, so you are probably right that it is stated in that book. I agree with the latter point. Oct 4, 2011 at 20:01
  • With reference to your claim about attaching と to all alternatives; compounds like ~とが appear in this manner as recently as in 明暗 by 夏目漱石. I vaguely remember seeing it in 女坂 by 円地文子 also, which is even more recent. Jan 11, 2014 at 23:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .