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切手を買ったり荷物を送ったりする時に行く所です

It seems that the verb before 時 is in the dictionary form. 送ったり is already a verb. Does that mean we always need する if we change the form of the verb?

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Not quite sure what you are asking here, but this is a very standard sentence structure.

Verb phrase X in past tense + り + another verb phrase Y in past tense + り + ... + する
Do things like X and Y

The する is part of this fixed grammar pattern. It is the do part of "do things like...". It is not generally applicable to any other verb manipulations. You can conjugate this する according to your needs, so it would become した if you wanted to day "did things like ...".

Not sure what you meant by "送ったり is already a verb". It is the verb 送る (dictionary form) conjugated to the past tense (送った) with り added on to make the たり form.

  • Thanks, I am learning the usage of 時、the textbook says if you combine it with verb, 食べる時、it need to be a dictionary form, so I was confused with the たり form. – Jacob Jun 10 '20 at 4:24
  • Does your book really say you need dictionary form before とき? That would be an over simplification/just plain wrong. 食べとき is just as grammatical and useful as 食べとき and you can conjugate the verb in other ways too. I think your book meant to say plain form rather than dictionary form. i.e you cannot write 食べますとき. – user3856370 Jun 10 '20 at 6:20
  • Forgive me, it says plain form, thank you. – Jacob Jun 10 '20 at 6:52

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