Take the 2-minute tour ×
Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I decided to split this into a thread by itself because I was afraid of cramming too much into the first thread.

Is it true that only movement verbs can take [V-stem]に to express a purpose?

Will it be possible for a non-movement verb to take [V-stem]に to express a purpose?

For example (let's take a really wild example), could 遊びに食べる even imply something like "Eat. Reason: Play." / "Eat your vege, so that you can play."

share|improve this question
    
I think that it is true, but someone with a grammar book should be able to give a much more convincing answer than my personal opinion. By the way, the meaning of this ~に is much more specific than “purpose.” For example, if you say 旅行記を書くために北海道に行く, the person may write the journal during or after the trip, but 旅行記を書きに北海道に行く, the person intends to write the journal during the trip. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Aug 31 '11 at 19:25
    
@Tsuyoshi cool, thx for the info =D –  Pacerier Aug 31 '11 at 21:04
    
Just in case, by “I think that it is true,” I mean “I think that it is true that only movement verbs can take [V-stem]に to express a purpose,” although “purpose” is not necessarily the right explanation of this meaning as I stated in my previous comment. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Aug 31 '11 at 22:10
    
@Tsuyoshi ok got it :) –  Pacerier Sep 1 '11 at 4:44
add comment

1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Yes it is true. According my my grammar dictionary, [Verb in 連用形 + に] can only be used with motion verbs such as 行く, 来る, 帰る, 入る, 出る to mean "to go/come/motion-verb (in order to) do something". The "In order to" becomes explicit when の為に is used, indicating a rather important purpose.


Let me try to break down the composition:

  • Take 遊ぶ as the verb.

  • 遊ぶ in 連用形* yields 遊び (a playing)(Noun)

*any verb or い-adjective can become a noun when placed in 連用形. This is similar to the English concept of "gerund". E.g. talk is a verb. talking is also a verb. But in the sentence "Is my talking distracting you?" talking here is a noun.

  •  as a particle indicates a point of space/time/reasoning.

(Compared to から which is a half-line with a start point; from a point in space/time/reasoning)

(Compared to まで, which is the other half-line with an end point; terminating at a point in space/time/reasoning)

And let's also take a motion verb:

  • 行く : to go

Then let's try to piece it back together:

  • 遊びに (The point of reasoning of "a playing")(Since 遊び is not a time or space)

  • 遊びに行く (To go to the point of reasoning of "a playing")**(More naturally parsed as "To go play")

** because 行く goes towards whatever is marked by に


Now let's try for your example:

遊びに食べる (To eat, at the point of reasoning of "a playing"). It cannot be naturally parsed because に does not relate the thing it marks with the verb 食べる. Unlike に+motion verb, whatever に marks is directly related to the motion verb.

The act of eating has nothing inherent to do with the playing. On the other hand, moving has an inherent connection to the destination. See sawa's explanation of に in "に and で revisited"

share|improve this answer
    
thx for the reply =D btw do you mean clarifying the part on the から and まで because it feels abit hard to understand what is trying to be conveyed here. –  Pacerier Sep 1 '11 at 15:39
    
@Pacerier those are just to help form a mental image of what に feels like. –  Flaw Sep 1 '11 at 22:42
    
@@Flaw ok cool =P –  Pacerier Sep 2 '11 at 7:17
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.