525 - たり~たりする (sometimes... and sometimes)

JLPT N4: たり~たりする (sometimes... and sometimes)

This is our third and final JLPT lesson on たり~たりする.

Let me guess. You have no recollection of ever studying たり~たりする in an NDL.

Don't worry, it's not Alzheimer's. In all likelihood, you've got a case of Boring Grammar Syndrome. There is but one cure... REVIEW:

[NDL #357] - JLPT N5: たり~たりする (do... and do)
[NDL #330] - JLPT N4: たり~たりする (expressing changes)

The たり~たりする we're looking at in this lesson is used to list contrasting situations.

For example, Sometimes I do A, and sometimes I do B.

Sometimes I wake up at 4:30 in the morning, and sometimes I sleep till noon.
Sometimes I think I'm making progress in my studies, and sometimes I feel like I'm spinning my wheels.
Sometimes I read all of Niko's sample sentences, and sometimes I skim, skim, skim.

Another way to think of this たり~たりする is to say that it describes unstable situations.

Behold, your first example:


昼食は一人で食べ、同僚と食べりします
ちゅうしょく は ひとり で たべたり、 どうりょう と たべたり します。
Sometimes I eat lunch by myself, and sometimes I eat with my coworkers.
Literally: “lunch + は + by oneself (= one person + で) + eating (and sometimes), + coworkers + と + eating (and sometimes) + do.”


👷 Construction 👷

Now, the formation of this たり~たりする is actually a bit different than what we saw before in this lesson and this lesson.

Before we saw that this grammar was formed by attaching り to the plain past tense of verbs (=Vた):


V V りする


We can still do this with the たり~たりする we're looking at in this lesson. In fact, we just saw this formation in our first example:


昼食は一人で食べ、同僚と食べりします
ちゅうしょく は ひとり で たべたり、 どうりょう と たべたり します。
Sometimes I eat lunch by myself, and sometimes I eat with my coworkers.
Literally: “lunch + は + by oneself (= one person + で) + eating (and sometimes), + coworkers + と + eating (and sometimes) + do.”


However! This lesson's たり~たり is unique for two reasons:

(1) Aside from the past tense of verbs (V た), we can also use the past tense of i-adjectives and だった (which is the past tense of the copula [=です] in plain form) before the り part of たり~たり.

(2) Sometimes たり~たり will be followed by the copula です/だ instead of する.


We'll see examples of all of these below...



あそこのラーメン屋は日によっておいしかっおしくなかっりする
あそこ の ラーメンや は ひ に よって おいしかったり おいしくなかったり する。
That ramen shop tastes good on some days and bad on other days.
Literally: “that + の + ramen shop + は + day + によって (=depending on) + tasty (and sometimes) + not tasty (and sometimes) + does.”


Here's our first example with たり~たりする being used with the past tense of an i-adjective:

おいしい(tasty; good
おいしかった(was tasty; was good
おいしかったり(is tasty [and sometimes]

おいしくない(not tasty; not good
おいしくなかった(was not tasty; was not good
おいしくなかったり(is not tasty [and sometimes]



このちらしは文字が縦書きだった横書きだったりして、とても読みにくい。
この ちらし は もじ が たてがき だったり よこがき だったり して、 とても よみにくい。
This flyer is really hard to read―some of the words are written top-to-bottom, and some of them are written left-to-right.
Literally: “this + flyer + は + letters / characters + が + vertical writing + is (and sometimes) + horizontal writing + is (and sometimes) + does (and), + very + hard to read.”



仕事が終わるのは昼だった夜中だったですから、生活リズムがめちゃくちゃです。
しごと が おわる の は ひる だったり よなか だったり です から、 せいかつ リズム が めちゃくちゃ です。
My life is all out of balance because sometimes my work finishes in the middle of the day and other times it finishes in the middle of the night.
Literally: “work + が + finish + のは + midday + is (and sometimes) + middle of the night + is (and sometimes) + です + から (=because), + lifestyle + rhythm + が + in disorder // messed up + です.”


The end!

With this, you've now mastered all of the たり~たり's.

Easy Peasy Jay & Weezy.






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