What's the difference between these sentences?



Could someone please explain the difference between these two sentences. I’m assuming the first one is “please eat and drink” and the second one is “please eat and drink and so on…” but don’t really know.


Maybe someone else will come here that studies grammar deeper than me to give a better answer, but I’ll give you my understanding of the matter, that I can’t guarantee to be 100% accurate :

for the て-form the order of operations is important, so the translation would be

Please eat then drink.

While with たり it means things like… and so forth and is often used to list things that do not happen in a specified order, so you could drink first, eat second or whatever. I’d translate it as

Please do things like eating and drinking.


Order can matter with te-form, eg in this sentence about medicine: 食後でないと効果が落ちるものは、何か食べて飲んでください。 where the point is “first eat something and then take (飲む) the medicine”. But it’s hard to see any ordering requirement in 北海道の農水産物を買って、食べて、飲んでくださいね beyond that the shop would like you to buy them first…

たり…たり can imply a non-exhaustive list, but doesn’t have to. For instance in this sentence where a dentist has noted that often people who’ve just switched to plastic dentures can burn their throat because they don’t feel the sensation of heat in the food in their mouth: :そんなにたいした傷ではないですが、気をつけて食べたり飲んだりしてくださいね、と伝えています。clearly the dentist doesn’t have any other actions in mind that they want the dentures-wearer to be careful about to avoid a burn other than eating and drinking.

So while there are situations where you want to specify an order and te-form is what you want, and situations where you want to leave the door open for other actions not on the list and tari…tari is better, there are also cases where either structure will work without really being very different in meaning.

(All sentences above taken from Japanese websites via Google.)

  1. Please eat and drink - Imagine you’re at a restaurant and table staff just placed the food and drink Infront of you and said sentence one.

  2. Please eat and drink as you wish (p.s. there are other things you could do too) - Imagine you’re at a party, and the host has just proudly showed you the buffet and drinks selection and said the second sentence, …however you intend to go straight over and join the D&D game.


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