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おばあさん は 川(かわ) へ せんたく に でかけます。

Why is there both へ and に? When can they be used together? Can someone break down the sentence for me to understand?

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BTW you know you can even rephrase the 川へ part as 川に, so there can be two に in one sentence. (Ah am I confusing you? sorry~) – user1016 Mar 28 '12 at 7:38

The に you presented indicates purpose of going rather than a direction.

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

Constituent parts:

  • おばあさんは(The woman(topic)) 

  • 川へ(in the direction of river) 

  • せんたくしに(for the purpose of laundry) 

  • でかけます(go out)

Sentence: The woman goes out to the river to do laundry.

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I don't think it's a typo. せんたくに sounds OK to me, and looking up the fable 桃太郎, which I think this is from, this is the usual formulation. I'm just wondering why you can omit it, since it doesn't seem to be a general rule – dainichi Mar 28 '12 at 8:05
Afaik it's fine to use に after both verb stems and nouns when given as reasons for something. (お土産に買う, I will buy it as a souvenir) – gibbon Mar 28 '12 at 8:36
Lol せんたくに is NOT a typo~! Both せんたくに and せんたくしに (to do laundry) are fine, just as かいものに and かいものしに are. These forms show "the purpose". せんたくに sounds more natural to my native ear, though. Ah, お土産に(which means お土産として. And you can not say お土産しに.) is something different, because you can't rephrase it as せんたくとして/かいものとして nor does it show the purpose of the action(買う). – user1016 Mar 28 '12 at 9:51
@dainichi &Chocolate. It sounds like it should warrant a question on its own. I am very curious too find out why too. – Flaw Mar 28 '12 at 13:05
@Flaw Done japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/5134/… – dainichi Mar 29 '12 at 0:59

As far as I know it's fine to use に after both verb stems and nouns when given as reasons for something.

E.g. お土産に買う - I will buy it as a souvenir

And to give a more concrete answer to your question: The particles convey different information, one is direction and the other is reason. Of course you can't have two directions, but that is not the case here.

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