In English, we just have one word for the conjunction and which works just fine for many categories, but in Japanese, there are separate words:

  • joins nouns together in a closed list
  • joins nouns together in an open list
  • そして does it do something like joining clauses or run-on sentences?
  • joins adjectives
  • たり joins verbs?
  • which I naively thought of as only meaning "too/also".
  • joins adjectives and verbs?

When can each be used and how should the language learner keep their usages straight and not confuse them?

  • There's a も too, I think.
    – Troyen
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 5:02
  • And also ~たり for verbs: 泣いたり笑ったりのは生きてるものさ
    – Lukman
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 5:02
  • @Troyen: I always thought of "も" (mo) as "too" / "also". I'll add any suggestions to my question as edits to improve it by the way so thanks all (-: Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 5:04
  • 4
    This is a really vague and hard-to-answer question. Could you make it clearer what exactly you are asking?
    – Amanda S
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 5:10
  • 1
    @Amanda: I guess the question just boils down to "How to translate English 'and' to Japanese". It doesn't seem very different to several other questions that already received very good answers but I'm sure my wording could be improved. Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 5:16

3 Answers 3


and are used to connect two or more nouns.

Most of the time, と can only be used for a fixed number of items like:


We need a keyboard and a mouse.

But や is used when there is a variable/unknown length like:


We need a keyboard, a mouse, and probably LAN cables too.

や can also have the sense of "OR" or "AND/OR" as in:


I haven't tried sushi and/or sashimi in Japan yet.

But と only means "AND":


I haven't tried sushi and sashimi in Japan yet.

そして is used as a conjunction between two phrases and has the sense of "then ..."

たり is used to connect two verbs and is used in the sense of giving examples, like Lukman mentioned in the comments:


くて is used to connect two adjectives like:


She is pretty and has wonderful style.

And yes, ~し~し is used to connect two adjectives, with exclusive positive or negative senses:


This room is clean, spacious, and also well partitioned, so most of the people like it.


That room is (a bit) dirty, (kind of) dark, and far from the station, so nobody bothers to rent it.

is normally used in the sense of "too / also", but sometimes it is used in the sense of "AND":


I'd like to have this, that, and also that one, basically everything.

And there are some more forms like ~かつ~ ("plus ..." or "not only ... but also ..."):


necessary and sufficient

Also, 及び, 並びに, ともに, and おまけに have a similar usage to "AND".

  • Both answers are very good but I'm accepting yours since you cover "そして" even though it might not be an "and" word. Commented Jun 4, 2011 at 6:04
  • btw what do you mean when you say "し can do exclusive posistive or negative senses"?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Jun 17, 2011 at 18:38
  • @Pacerier, 〜 parts in 〜し〜し is either positive sense し + positive sense し, or negative sense し + negative sense し
    – YOU
    Commented Jun 17, 2011 at 18:45
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    what about に as an "and" particle? Is it like と or や?
    – Muhd
    Commented Oct 30, 2011 at 22:23
  • 1
    – chocolate
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 2:35

Suffice it to say, there are a lot more ways to join words or phrases together in Japanese than there are in English, where "and" seems to do the job for nearly every kind of word ("coats and goats," "hard and fast," "eat and drink," "to and fro"...)

It would be difficult to make an exhaustive list of all the ways to do this in Japanese, but here are some common ones.

To join nouns

  • Plain and simple "and."

    猫と犬 (cats and dogs)

  • Indicates a non-exhaustive list of similar nouns.

    猫や犬 (cats and dogs, etc.)

  • も...も Analogous to "both...and..." in English.

    猫も犬も (both cats and dogs)

To join adjectives

  • -くて Plain and simple "and," but can sometimes imply that the second adjective follows from the first.

    甘くておいしい (sweet and [thus] delicious)

To join verbs

  • -て form Simplest way to join verbs. Can sometimes imply order of occurrence or cause and effect.

    行って来る (go and [then] come back)

    英語を勉強して話せた (studied English and was [thus] able to speak)

  • -たり A non-exhaustive list of actions.

    食べたり飲んだりする (eat and drink, etc.)

To join clauses

  • A list of reasons, most of which are left unsaid.

    ねむいし仕事があるし (I'm sleepy, and I have work to do, and...[I really don't want to] [so I can't do what you're asking])

  • heys btw if くて implies a sense of "after", what alternatives do we have to join [adj]+[adj] without that implication?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Jun 17, 2011 at 18:37
  • Great list, but I wonder about your 「勉強」 sentence. Usually, if there's a change (such as in the speaker's ability to speak English), don't people usually use conditional expressions like 「〜たら」? Commented Sep 7, 2011 at 12:12

Don't forget that there are also many grammatical constructs whose core meaning essentially boils down to "and".

  • それに/[更]{さら}に・(〜に)くわえて → "(and) in addition (to) ~, ..."
  • 〜上 → "(and) on top of that, ..."
  • (〜にも)まして → "(and) more than that, ..."

This complicates things a little more by adding more options to choose from. But overall, I think the nuances of each meaning should help you choose the right one. The hard part is remembering all the choices you have.

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