Supposing that you want to express a list of events or actions exhaustively and without significance in ordering (for example: Yesterday, I ate some ice cream, went to the store, and read a book, but those things weren't necessarily done in sequence), what are the possible grammar constructions that can be used? These are some possibilities I've seen:

  • → This seems too temporal to me; that is, it seems like all events are sequential. Can the て-form be used without time relations or restrictions?
  • たり → This seems like it would work, but I don't know how exhaustive it is, since it seems to imply somethings might have been left out.
  • Stem (連用中止法) → Not sure about this one. What is the proper way to use this? I believe this is similar to the て-Form.
  • そ(う)して → I think this simple conjuction works, but it seems slightly tiresome if one is listing many actions.

I hope this question isn't being too open. I'm just looking for some opinions and explanations for the different grammatical constructs that could be used in these types of expressions.

  • 1
    How do you possibly exhaustively list what you did in a day? In your example, you are malnourished, constipated, and really really need to pee. You also suffer from insomnia, and everything you did took really really long. Also, you are a medical miracle, not requiring air (since apparently you did not bother to breathe). No-one called you on the phone; if they did, maybe it's while you were in the store, since you didn't take it with you, unless you had it from the last day. Etc, etc... There's a reason such a construct is not in any language. I'd use たり, implying irrelevance of the rest.
    – Amadan
    Oct 26, 2011 at 16:09
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    @Amadan: I agree that it is hard to imagine a context where an exhaustive list of the things I did yesterday in the literal sense is useful. However, I think that the spirit of the question still stands because (1) it may not be in the literal sense and can actually mean an exhaustive list of the things I did yesterday that are worth mentioning, and (2) even in the literal sense, something like an exhaustive list of the things I did because of my boss’s request makes sense. Therefore, I cannot buy your reasoning that such a construct does not exist in any language. Oct 26, 2011 at 21:52
  • @TsuyoshiIto: My point was that 〜たり already serves for listing things worth mentioning, since the things you didn't mention obviously weren't.
    – Amadan
    Oct 26, 2011 at 22:15
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    @Amadan: No. -たり indicates that the listed items are just examples. Oct 27, 2011 at 8:08
  • @Miguel Hmm, interesting.. maybe we could first use the te-form, end the sentence, and start another sentence saying that the those things weren't done in any particular order.
    – Pacerier
    May 31, 2012 at 18:49

2 Answers 2


I doubt that there is a construct which means an exhaustive, unordered list unambiguously, just in the same way as there is probably no such construct in English.

You are right in that listing with -て means (or at least strongly implies) the temporal order, and in that -たり suggests that the list is not exhaustive.

Using two or more そして (or そうして) sounds unnatural, and it also strongly suggests the temporal order.

Listing with 連用中止法 itself does not indicate whether the list is exhaustive or not, and does not necessarily mean an ordered list. However, if you write something like:


I would assume by default that the events are stated in the temporal order because it is the most natural order.

I think that listing with -し reduces the implication of the temporal order:


but it increases the implication that the list is not exhaustive in my opinion, so it is probably not what you are looking for, either.

Added. If you say the number as in


it implies that the list is exhaustive. The list is not necessarily in the temporal order, but again, I would probably assume that the list is in the temporal order unless the context implies otherwise.

In writing, a list can be annotated as “([順不同]{じゅんふどう})” to explicitly state that the order is insignificant. For example, the list of supporting organizations for the traffic safety campaign in fall 2011 is stated as “(順不同).” However, it is unusual to use it in a sentence.


My simple solution: using たり, and finishing with "まあ、それだけかな?."

You could also use the て form with all but one elements of your list, and eventually add something like "あ!、そうだ!それで、Xもした。"

  • I don't know how to express naturally « the following list is not ordered » in Japanese, hence my たり suggestion.
    – Axioplase
    Oct 25, 2011 at 5:21
  • I cannot see why you write “それだけかな?” instead of “それだけ” when the question asks for a way to state an exhaustive list. Similarly, I cannot see why a speaker should pretend as if he/she almost forgot to say one item in the list; it does not seem to have anything to do with the question. Oct 25, 2011 at 17:12
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    @TsuyoshiIto: well, I guess it's a cultural difference. I would definitely say "well, I guess that's all" or a similar thing in French too. I transposed it to Japanese because that's how I speak.
    – Axioplase
    Oct 26, 2011 at 1:45

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