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When using する verbs, is there a significant semantic/connotative difference between using the bare noun compared to simply adding a nominalizer (の・こと) after the する?

例:

「運転が好きです。」

「運転することが好きです。」

I'm tempted to say that the latter emphasizes the act of driving, such that they'd be translated respectively to: "I like driving." "I like the act of driving."

... Though I'd be hard pressed to explain even in English how these are significantly different in meaning. Maybe they're effectively synonymous in Japanese?

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I have no prior research but, speaking from experience, I would say most of the time your way of thinking is right, for some examples (like the one you proposed) the difference from one sentence to the other is simply the level of emphasis you want to impose. But I also believe that for other sentences such as:

野球が好きです

and

野球することが好きです

you have a more distinct difference in meaning, the first sentence has the meaning of "liking baseball", the sport itself, the second sentence carries the meaning "I like to play baseball". But since I have not made a prior research I would also like to hear from others.

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