I've got this sentence: かれはすしをたべにいっている。

Why is たべ which is たべる followed after by に and then by another verb? Is this correct?

Apparently it means "He is going to eat the sushi."


1 Answer 1


I recommend you read with kanji and copy-paste it into a dictionary. If you read in full romaji or kana some ambiguities will arise that will be especially confusing for a beginner.

Setting that aside.

kare wa sushi wo tabe ni itte iru

食べに is the tricky part

食べ is a noun meaning "eating", it's 食べる in what's called masu stem 食べ(ます).

masu stem + に (destination particle) gives the meaning of "in order to".

So, "He went (somewhere) to eat sushi (and hasn't come back yet)".

  • Is 食べ really a noun though? Certainly, you can say 勝ちに行く and 負けに行く, and I think 勝ち and 負け can be nouns, but there are two pitch patterns for 勝ちに, one for the noun (LHL), the other for the verb (HLL), I guess. 勝ちにこだわる uses LHL and 勝ちに行く usually uses HLL. 勝ち can be used with particles other than に, e.g. 勝ちを掴む, 勝ちが決まる, but how about 食べ?
    – Detaroit
    Aug 3, 2023 at 11:44
  • Yeah, you are right. The definition of NOUN should be defined with more restrictions. There are a bunch of types of nouns in Japanese. 食べ can turn into 食べ物, but how about 勝ち? Moreover, I don't know a lot about pitch accent, but a difference in pitch may not necessarily mean that the word is different. I think of らしい as a hearsay or as "it seems like." I wouldn't argue they are a different word. I will make an edit, given that there are adverbial nouns, i will put 連用形 to be safe.
    – 0149234
    Aug 3, 2023 at 13:11
  • In general I think of 連用形 as a noun-like entity precisely because of this usage and the possibility in some cases to have a more rounded noun (勝ち).
    – 0149234
    Aug 3, 2023 at 13:13
  • Maybe 連用形 is sometimes more like participle than gerund.
    – Detaroit
    Aug 3, 2023 at 13:54
  • @Detaroit I've been over this in previous answers on other questions, e.g. japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/100291/…, japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/100007/…. There are many attributes that a candidate for a "noun" could have; many sorts of word in Japanese have some but not all of them, in overlapping combinations. English basically just has nouns and gerunds; I find masu-stems to be quite analogous to English gerunds. It's only my own analysis, though. Aug 4, 2023 at 3:56

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