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According to Chocolate's comment to a question, some suru-nouns can be followed by the purposive directly, but others require (the stem of) する in between.

 面会しに行く
 面会に行く
 料理しに行く
× 料理に行く

Other examples that Chocolate gives are:

 {観光/謝罪/調査/返却/回収/撮影/報告/面会}に{行く/来る}
× {雑談/読書/料理}に{行く/来る}

When can a suru-noun be used directly before the purpose-に without (the stem of) する?

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You should add 勉強に帰る to the question. –  Flaw Mar 29 '12 at 1:32
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@Flaw-san, yeah... it's still unclear to me why 調査・報告に帰る・戻る・向かう sound fine but we don't say 料理・雑談・maybe勉強too?に行く・帰る・来る・戻る・向かう,(勉強に行く/来るetc. sound awkward to me but seems like some people use it to refer to 'studying abroad' or something..) while we say 調査・回収に行く・帰る・来る・戻る・向かう... Hmm this に is used depending on circumstances and maybe there's no rule to apply to every case? –  Chocolate Mar 29 '12 at 3:54
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@dainichi-san and Flaw-san, Ahh and you can say 友達の家に宿題しにいく/宿題をしに行く but not 宿題に行く… (何故?笑!ゴメ~ン、難しすぎてもうわからへんわ。ギブギブ~~(><) –  Chocolate Mar 29 '12 at 8:55
    
Interesting question.. =) –  Pacerier Mar 29 '12 at 20:39
    
@sawa, thanks for editing. Yes, I admit my quoting of Chocolate's comment was too verbatim. The question is clearer now! –  dainichi Mar 30 '12 at 2:11
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I guess, for the words that Chocolate claims that you don't need する, (I don't necessarily agree with Chocolate's native intuition, but still I can understand the feeling) they are activities that in the default cases, you go somewhere to do it:

観光/謝罪/調査/返却/回収/撮影/報告/面会
sightseeing/appologize/investigate/return/collect/film/report/meet

They are something that you need either an opponent person or an object, and you need to go to that place to do it. On the other hand, the other suru-nouns do not have that nature:

雑談/読書/料理
chat/read/cook

are something you do at a fixed location. Note the difference between 面会, which includes moving of the subject to meet the other person, whereas 雑談 does not include that meaning. I guess this is the underlying difference that leads to Chocolate's native judgements.

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I buy this explanation, until there's counter examples at least. Though I got to wonder, did you think this up on your own? –  gibbon Apr 4 '12 at 5:30
    
This sounds plausible (although maybe a bit fuzzy). So in the example from 桃太郎 in the linked question, 洗濯に行く works, because it is understood that grandma couldn't do laundry at home, and therefore had to go to the river... –  dainichi Apr 5 '12 at 0:52
    
@dainichi Yes, in those days, doing the laundry implied going to the river, and that expression was okay. Today, if a context where doing laundry implies going somewhere (as in an apartment with shared washing machine), that would still be allowed. –  sawa Apr 5 '12 at 1:13
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For a lot of する verb, the stem is also a noun. And before に, noun form / 連用形 are acceptable.

So you get this, for 調査する, you can use 調査に (as 調査 is a noun) or 調査しに (as 調査し is the 連用形 of 調査する). For 遊ぶ/遊び, only 遊びに is possible, because no verb as 遊びする exists, so 遊びしに in no valid.

The し in しに is the part of the previous verb, not a verb (する) itself.

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読書 is also a noun by itself, but according to Chocolate, 読書に行く is not possible. My question is when it is possible and when it is not. –  dainichi Mar 29 '12 at 3:29
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@dainichi, I think it depends on the meaning. By the way, I t think 読書に行く is also valid. –  fefe Mar 29 '12 at 4:42
    
Yeah, 読書に行く does get quite a few google hits. Can you clarify "depends on the meaning"? So are there any guidelines or do you need to memorize on a word by word basis? –  dainichi Apr 4 '12 at 2:05
    
@dainichi When 読書 means a reading event, or a daily routine that is held somewhere outside, then you can say 読書に行く. If it just an adhoc on-time reading, you cannot say it. That relates to my answer. –  sawa Apr 4 '12 at 15:13
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