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(A) 今日は映画を見たり買い物をしたりで楽しかった

I had a good time seeing a movie and going shopping today.


From wildnihongo.com,

When ~たり~たりする is not the final segment of a sentence and the main predicate is an adjective (i.e. not a verb), する may be omitted. If the main predicate is a verb, する can NOT be omitted.

  • E.g. 歌ったり踊ったりとても楽しかった。[Doing things such as singing and dancing was really fun.] In this example, ~たり~たりする is not the main predicate and the main predicate is an adjective. Thus, する can be omitted.

As far as I'm concerned the main predicate of A is 楽しかった, which is an adjective. Is the following correct then?

(B) 今日は映画を見たり買い物をしたりしたで楽しかった


My books nor the book from which I got the example can't help me parse this as they just state that する follows predicates in the たり form, not to mention this not always the case.

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2 Answers 2

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Grammatically, something like 歌ったり踊ったり is a long noun phrase that can work also as a suru-verb or a no-adjective. ~ては~て is very similar in this regard, too. Since it's essentially a noun, you can say:

  • 歌ったり踊ったり3時間続けた。
  • 歌ったり踊ったり好きです。
  • 「今何してる?」「歌ったり踊ったりです。」
  • ステージで歌ったり踊ったり経験があります。

In 歌ったり踊ったり楽しかった, this で after the second たり is a te-form of the copula だ used to denote a reason/cause. It's the same で as in 幸せそうでよかった ("I'm glad that you look happy") and 心配で電話しました ("I called him because I was worried"). You can rephrase the sentence as 歌ったり踊ったりして楽しかった using the te-form of する, too. They should look natural once you understand 歌ったり踊ったり is a noun. However, 歌ったり踊ったりしたで楽しかった is incorrect simply because する/した and だ/で cannot be joined directly (you cannot say するだ/しただ in any condition).

The next question is why even 歌ったり踊ったり楽しかった is correct if ~たり forms a noun. I feel something like で or して is omitted before 楽しかった, as your textbook says. This happens in speech, but it's not common in written Japanese. This happens only with adjectives probably because たり after the last verb may be omitted. 歌ったり踊ったり楽しんだ would be taken as "I did things like singing, dancing and having fun" rather than "I had fun singing and dancing".

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  • I'm confused: is して/で being omitted in 歌ったり踊ったり楽しんだ? Also, 楽しむ is a verb, not an adjective, but you said it only happens with adjectives.
    – Nameless
    Dec 2, 2021 at 22:17
  • @Nameless I mean, if the sentence ends with a verb, 歌ったり踊ったり楽しんだ would be taken as a (less correct) equivalent of 歌ったり踊ったり楽しんだりした rather than 歌ったり楽しんだりして楽しんだ. As the question says, the possible して/で-omission is relevant only before an predicative adjective.
    – naruto
    Dec 3, 2021 at 4:33
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Sentences may contain one or more ~たりsentences folllowed by する, and those that contain more than one can freely replace する with だ: 入ったり出たりだ; 病気だったり元気だったりだ. This means, in the sen-tence with -tari verb forms, da has been substituted for suru, a very common device. This sentence (with da) can now convert だ to の and be used adnominally, that is, as a modifier, e.g, 降ったり止んだりの天気だ. To call this construction a ‘no adjective’ is a mis-understanding of Japanese syntax.

Example A, 今日は映画を見たり買い物をしたりで楽しかった, is thus syntactically correct, the sentence end-ing だ becoming で when used at the end of a clause. Here, quoting from Martin, is an long example of the same structure:

開業仕立てのころは真夜中往診を頼まれると、夜通しの治療に取っ組んだり救急車に同乗して病院に送り込んだりで、いつか町内の信頼を集める存在となった。

‘At the time I had just begun my practice, when asked to make a house-call in the middle of the night, I would (do such things as) wrestle with the treatment all night and accomanpay [patients] in the ambulance to the hospital, so that before I knew it, my presence came to gather confidence from the neighbourhood.’

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