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と や とか など / to and ya and toka and nado

Usage and difference of to and ya and nado(と and や and など)

と や とか など / to and ya and toka and nado

When we list up items in a series we use “と / to” or “や / ya” or “とか / toka”.

Let’s look at examples.



“I’m going shopping at Marui and Mitsukoshi today.”

*Marui and Mitsukoshi are Japanese famous department stores especially in Kanto region.



“I’m going shopping at Marui and Mitsukoshi today.”



“I’m going shopping at Marui and Mitsukoshi today.”


Can you tell the differences?  In the examples above, と and や and とか are translated as  “and” but there is a slight difference.  


In the first example I’ve decided to go Marui and Mitsukoshi and that’s it.  On the other hand, in the second and third example I’ve also decided to go Marui and Mitsukoshi but there are other places that I’m going.  Like this, when と is used all choices should be listed and when や or とか is used some of items are listed.


The difference between や and とか

Grammatically, there are several differences between や and とか but I think one of the big differences is written and spoken Japanese.  や is often used in written Japanese and とか is more likely used in spoken Japanese.


Example and usage of と

A : この中で何がほしいか言ってみて。

(A : Say what you want among these.)

B : iPhone 8 と3DSと、あとNintendo SwitchとSplatoon2かな。

(B : I think iPhone 8 and 3DS, Nintendo Switch and Splatoon2.)


In this case と should be used because I need to list up all I want to answer the question.  If you use とか instead of と the items you list up are not all you wanted (there should be more items you want).


Another example.

A : えっとー、この服とあの帽子を買います。

(A : Well, I’ll take this clothes and that cap.)

B : ありがとうございます。

(B : Thank you.)


In this example you’ve already decided what you want so と is used since there aren’t other items you want.


Example and usage of や


(I use Twitter and Facebook for sales promotion these days.)


In this case you use other tools other than Twitter and Facebook.  You just listed up two tools among all.



This vacuum can be used not only for rooms but also for screen doors and Futon (bed).


This example also implies that the vacuum can be used for other purposes.


Example and usage of とか

A : 東京に行くならどこ行きたい?

(A : Where you wanna go if you visit Tokyo?)

B : う~ん、原宿でしょ、あとは渋谷とか高円寺とか下北(下北沢)とかに行きたいかなあ。

(B : ummm…  I wanna go to Harajuku, Shibuya, Koenji, and Shimokita (Shimokitazawa).)


You use とか because you listed some of the places you want to visit, you have more places in your mind where you want to visit.  Also, this example is spoken Japanese so とか is used instead of や.  


や and とか are used with など / nado

When や and とか are used など is often used with them.  など is written as 等 in Kanji form and implies that there are other choices.  I’ll add “など” to the examples I wrote above.


(I use Twitter and Facebook for sales promotion these days.)

This sentence works without など but using など emphasize that there are other tools used.  Like the above, “この掃除機は部屋だけではなく、網戸や布団の掃除などにも使えますよ。” also emphasizes that there are something more.  The difficult thing is, I think, that the sentence “う~ん、原宿でしょ、あとは渋谷とか高円寺とか下北(下北沢)などに行きたいかなあ。” sounds strange.  The biggest reason is the example is spoken style.  In many cases など seems to be used in written style and when など is used in spoken Japanese it sounds a little more formal.  Let’s look at another example.


(During the visit to Japan I would like to pay a visit to Harajuku, Shibuya, Koenji and Shimokitazawa.)

This sentence can be written style but also can be speech style (formal occasion)  so this sounds natural.



A bit of long article!  I hope I didn’t bore you too much!

Bye 🙂

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