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I read this material in a local book which gives too little information so I need help to confirm.

The book said that we can use と to compare, and we cannot omit the last と.

いちご と すいかと、どちらがいいですか
Between strawberry and watermelon, which one do you like?

I cannot find confirmation if I could use it to compare more than two things. As in:

いちごとすいかとみかんと、どれがいいですか

And as it seems to be the same exhaustive と, can we really not omit the last と when it's used like this? If so, why is that?

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    You can safely omit the last と in your first example. It seems to me that the book is not trustworthy or you're missing something. – naruto Jun 5 '16 at 17:34
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    「いちごとすいかどちらがいいですか?」でもいいですよね・・ – Chocolate Jun 5 '16 at 18:05
  • @chocolate [いちごとすいかとみかんと、どれがいいですか]でもいいですか? – Alice28 Jun 6 '16 at 3:54
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    @Alice28 はい、いいと思います。ほかにも、「いちごとすいかとみかん、どれがいいですか?」「いちごとすいかとみかんどれがいいですか?」など、いろいろ言い方があると思います。 – Chocolate Jun 6 '16 at 4:38
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This usage appears to be variant of "exhaustive と". We build an exhaustive list, which then behaves as any other plural noun would, and from which we then prompt for a choice. (Also, looking through GOO's and A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, it doesn't appear that any other と usage fits this example).

If we assume that it is indeed an exhaustive と usage, (and that no special exceptions are occurring), then listing more than two items or dropping/replacing the last と should both be okay.

Various example sentences suggest that no special exceptions are occurring here and that we can safely use "exhaustive と"s full range. For example, chocolate posted:

いちごとすいかとみかんのどれがいいですか?

Here we have a 3-item と list where the final と was replaced with the overall marker の. The rest of the sentence no longer "cares" about と and just sees a plural noun: LISTのどれがいいですか

On a final note, dropping a と in an exhaustive と list might have been less grammatical in the past. For example, see the third major entry (black-boxed-3) of the following link (note: is in Japanese), which says roughly that despite older usage rules, in modern usage it is acceptable to abbreviate the final と. (From this we might reasonably infer that explicitly adding every と might make a sentence sound more formal or old-fashioned):

http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/jn/154670/meaning/m0u/%E3%81%A8/

For reference According to the "exhaustive と" entry in Tae Kim's Guide to Japanese Grammar (http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/nounparticles), you can definitely list more than two nouns in an exhaustive list joined with と, and the last noun usually takes a different particle marking the list's overall function.

So for example:

ピザスイカイチゴ食べました。

is grammatical.

[Edit: removed discussion of と vs か, was not relevant]

  • Thanks for your answer :) I've seen the guide on taekims, and yes i'm familiar with listing more than two items with と exhaustive list. I also understand your concern to use か instead for this usage. But what i want to confirm was about the material written in the local book. About と being used to compare. I want to confirm if it can be used to list more than two and if it's safe to omit the last と :) – Alice28 Jun 6 '16 at 4:02
  • What you find in this site : "punipunijapan.com/japanese-particle-to" on the part "Using the particle と (to) to compare & contrast" is basically what's written in my local book. "The particle と can be used to indicate a comparison or a contrast. In this case, it is used twice; once after the first noun and once after the second noun." – Alice28 Jun 6 '16 at 4:27
  • Ah, I see. Essentially, "when と is used to present choices for comparison, does it follow the same rules as standard exhaustive と, or if not, in what ways is it different?" On a side note, that link leads to an empty page. – WeirdlyCheezy Jun 6 '16 at 6:47
  • Yes, you get it totally right :) hmm. I'm sure it was a correct link, but i've pasted the information in the link that you need to see in previous comment, so it's okay if you can't check out the link. – Alice28 Jun 6 '16 at 6:50
  • chocolate's example usage parses as an exhaustive と to me and I see no reason we couldn't add another element 「ピザとイチゴとスイカのどちらがいいですか」 using the usual pattern of final particle being the "overall one" (in this case の), but I'll try to find some confirmation. – WeirdlyCheezy Jun 6 '16 at 7:00

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