I know that だり...だりする is used to list verbs from my genki I book, but I knew that wasn't what was occurring in my sentence. While looking for aid to figure out what the だり in the last sentence means, I found this answer here. I still can't figure out what the だり is doing in the last sentence.

Therefore, how is the だり affecting the 悩ん in the last sentence?


My translation attempt:

Using up my stamina and nerves, the wet dirt tires me out so that I wish to lie down every day again and again. Neither time to think to unnecessary things, nor things to dream. In the end, that sort of life when I start to grow accustom to it, now without rushing everything, my thoughts gradually become agony. That at times clearing the task, for all my power is a period of working hard, without worrying about anything among other things I feel at ease.

  • I am not sure why you think your linked answer doesn't apply to your line. It seems relevant. "... end without worrying about anything, [or...]" The "or..." part, some other things that possibly weigh on the speaker's mind, is omitted.
    – Eddie Kal
    Mar 8, 2021 at 0:51
  • @EddieKal I think its not applicable because despite reading both answers in their entirety, I failed to see how to apply them to my own situation.
    – Toyu_Frey
    Mar 8, 2021 at 2:56

1 Answer 1


The grammar

The ...たり form is essentially the past-tense ~た ending (or ~だ for verbs that include voicing, like 悩【なや】む), plus ~り.

In your sample text, we have 悩【なや】んだり, formed just as above: 悩【なや】む has a past tense of 悩【なや】んだ, and the ...だり form is just that past tense + り = 悩【なや】んだり.

The meaning

The ...たり ending signifies that the action of the verb is taking place, as well as other actions. It is a kind of non-exhaustive listing. Basically, it amounts to "doing XYZ, among other things".

Notably, the non-exhaustive listing can have only one item in the list, as indeed we see in your sample text.

The text

The 悩【なや】んだり here appears as part of the compound verb 思【おも】い悩【なや】む ("to think about worryingly: to worry about, to fret about"). Let's analyze that last clause.


Breaking it down piece by piece:

何も "anything, anything at all", implying a negative context
思い悩んだり "worrying about, among other things": non-exhaustive listing
せずに "without doing"
すむ "conclude, finish"

Putting this back together as a slightly-more-direct translation, we might wind up with:

  • Things finished without me worrying about anything, or doing anything like that.

A direct translation is a bit unnatural. The "anything" in the English already makes things pretty open-ended, and the "or doing anything like that" on the end seems clunky. We could include the word "even" to accentuate that open-endedness, in a way that is functionally close to the ...たり.

So for a somewhat-more-natural translation, we might wind up with:

  • Things finish without me even worrying about anything.

This leaves it open that the speaker may have done something else unspecified, in a way that's a bit similar to the use of the ...たり construction in the Japanese.

Please comment if the above does not fully address your question.

  • "Things finished"? The past sense? But the original line is not in the past. (Granted, the preceding line is, but my Google fu can only find these lines separately. They seem to be from the same game but not necessarily uttered in succession.) Also double-spacer spotted :)
    – Eddie Kal
    Mar 8, 2021 at 1:07
  • 1
    @EddieKal, I've found that fictional retellings in Japanese tend to use non-past and past in a mix, in relation to the context of the character's experience: if they are thinking about things in the past, but in a "reliving" kind of way, verbs tend to be in the non-past. This is somewhat similar to how dialog might work, where characters speaking about their "now" will use the non-past, even if the conversation itself happened in the past. Meanwhile, English tends to demand that events in the past be expressed using the past tense, excepting the same dialog context. Mar 8, 2021 at 1:49
  • That said, while that's why I used past tense in the English without even thinking much about it, you're right that such a discussion is outside the scope of the original question. I'll edit accordingly. Mar 8, 2021 at 1:50
  • Okay that makes sense. Thanks for explaining! A dialog or monolog of the same content in English very likely will employ the historical present. "Those days... I come home every day totally pooped. Don't have the energy to think about anything. Just go straight to bed." So does it mean the historical present also occurs in Japanese? I am not familiar with it in the context of Japanese.
    – Eddie Kal
    Mar 8, 2021 at 2:04
  • @EddieKal The lines are from a novella based off of a game (Phantom of Inferno), so that might explain why they are on top of one another in the book instead of separately found as they were in the game. And as far as tenses go, I'm currently using present tense for most of the story unless the overall event in question occurred in the past, then I switch when possible.
    – Toyu_Frey
    Mar 8, 2021 at 2:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .