I just read a sentence in an answer key as follows:


I would have thought that the sentence should be:


Is there any difference between the two? Is it alway ok to not finish off with たりする? Although it changes the meaning of the sentence, would it also have been ok to finish off with just 食べます?

  • Your question “Is it alway ok to not finish off with たりする?” contains several errors and I cannot tell what you are asking about for sure. Can you explicitly write down the sentences whose correctness you are asking about? – Tsuyoshi Ito Feb 25 '12 at 2:06
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    The sentences I'm asking about are the ones above. In particular, I'm asking if the first one is equally valid as the second one, and if so, why. As you see, the first one utilizes たり to list things they are planing to do. I was taught that such a clause must always finish with たりする, where たり here would be on 食べる as I have written in my second sentence, and する of course could be conjugated to fit ones purpose with the sentence. (In this case I let it be する since it was followed with つもり). In short, I was surprised that 食べる was not 食べたりする in this sentence, and I wonder about the general case. – gibbon Feb 25 '12 at 6:51

If you are around friends... I have the feeling they wouldn't mind if you left off the bookish-sounding grammatically correct ending of 〜たりする (something like your second example sentence.)

However, your first sentence's meaning almost sounds like this (to me):

If it rains, I plan on going shopping and eating good things.

The second sentence's meaning sounds like this (to me):

If it rains, I plan on going shopping and eating good things.

If you want to keep the context all in check, it's a good idea to end the 〜たり、〜たり pattern with する, here, though young people probably won't care... and you might find yourself in informal conversations where people break all sorts of grammatical rules. :)

  • Thank you for the very elaborate explanation! Also, would you mind giving an example on how you would split the sentence? Oh and as Anonymous suggested in his answer (though it's unclear without more context), the meaning of たら here is "if" (it rains). Thanks! – gibbon Feb 25 '12 at 15:46
  • Here I used "when" instead of "if" for たら because you are talking about something you do often. If it was only a one time thing, I would use "if". If I were to stylistically break up the sentence... I might do something like this: 買い物に行ったり、おいしい食べ物を食べたりすることが好きですね。雨が降るときは・・・ Not much a big difference; just a literary alternative. – summea Feb 25 '12 at 17:51
  • I don't understand this answer. つもり implies future, but “tend“ suggests habitual present. – dainichi Feb 26 '12 at 15:35
  • I am sorry, I translated the answer into a more relevant way just now. I hope that helps~ m(_ _)m – summea Feb 27 '12 at 3:25
  • @dainichi The reason I had used the "tend" with the previous translation... is because I remember hearing something about using つもり instead of something like 傾向がある when used with 〜たり・〜たり, though, I'd have to go back and check my old notes. – summea Feb 27 '12 at 4:30

In Martin's 1975 Reference Grammar of Japanese, he writes on page 567 that "the structure V1 たり V2 たりする is tending to be replaced by V1 たり V2 る". (This was back in 1975, and he cites an NHK book from 1970 as a reference, so this information is now somewhat dated, but I think it's still true.)

He gives examples like the following, which he says appeared in 週刊朝日:


Presumably the above has the same meaning as the following:


You may want to insist on using ~たり~たりする yourself because that's what your teacher tells you to do, but you should be able to understand it when other people use ~たり~る instead. I don't think people always use ~たりする at the end of this sort of structure.


It's not grammatically correct, but happens often in daily speech. It wouldn't be any more or less correct if you dropped つもり from the end, but as you say the meaning would change, becoming less clear if you're talking about when/if it rains.

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    What do you mean dropping つもり? Are you mentioning what happens when the clause in question is a matrix one? – user458 Feb 24 '12 at 21:41
  • I have no idea what you're implying the matrix has to do with anything. Seriously though, I'm not a linguist, but if you had read the question properly you would understand my answer. In the last sentence, the questioner asked if it also would "have been ok to finish off with just 食べます", in essence just removing つもり and conjugating the verb because the sentence is written in ですます調. The past conditional 〜たら can mean both if and when. In the sentence, it's pretty clear that they're talking about if it rains, because つもり followed by a nonpast conjugated copula implies future action. – Anonymous Feb 25 '12 at 2:57
  • I think Anonymous got exactly what I meant, sorry for the confusion on that one. I'll wait a while longer to see if any other replies comes in before accepting, thank you though! – gibbon Feb 25 '12 at 6:41

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