Different Ways To List Actions


New Member
My first textbook taught me that when listing verbs, you turn the verb into て form.

I ate, drank. and then went home

Now I have another textbook, and it says when listing verbs you can also change the verb into past tense form and then add り before listing the action.

I ate, drank, and went home

What's the difference? Does one change the meaning a little?
  • SoLaTiDoberman

    Senior Member
    They are more or less the same.

    If I dare explain the difference:

    食べて、飲んで、それから家へ行きました=First, I ate and drank. And after that, I went to their house.
    What the speaker did was written according to the timeline.

    食べたり、飲んだり、家へ行ったりしました= I did such things as eating, drinking and going to their house.
    "Eating" and "drinking" and "going to their house" may be parallel.

    However, under ordinary circumstances, "eating and drinking" are done at the same time. And "going to their house" are supposed to be done after "eating and drinking."

    Therefore, the two sentence would mean the same thing after all.
    In short, "they means the same, using different expressions."
    I ate, drank. and then went home

    I ate, drank, and went home
    Do you mean to say "went to/visited someone's house" (=家へ行った), or "went/returned home" (=家へ帰った) ? To say "go/return home", you don't say 家へ行く but 家へ帰る, 家に帰る or just 帰る.

    If you meant the latter...
    食べたり、飲んだり、家へ帰ったりしました。(I did things like eating, drinking, and going home, etc.) would sound quite unnatural..
    It'd be natural to say it as:
    食べて、飲んで、それから家へ帰りました。(I ate, drank, and then went home.)
    食べたり、飲んだりしました。それから家に帰りました。(I did things like eating and drinking. And then I went home.)
    食べたり飲んだりして、そのあと家に帰りました。(I did things like eating and drinking, and then I went home.)

    (「~たり~たりした」 can often imply you also did some other (similar) things than just these listed things.)

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