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I have seen several verbs used with し and する. What is the difference and can they be used interchangeably? Here are a few examples, The dictionary translates them all the same:

し損なう、損なう、損ないする

Also are these the same forms below and can they be used in interchangeably

し払う ( i've seen it written as 支払う)、払う、払いする

And finally can I do this with any verb?

  • Does it help to know that the initial し comes from する? – Brandon May 15 '16 at 17:12
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し損なう is a compound verb, consisting of the continuative form (連用形) of the verb する + the verb 損なう, meaning "fail to do (correctly)" "to miss (the chance to do~~)", e.g.

計算をし損なう "make an error in calculation"
留学をし損なう "missed the chance to go study abroad"

(You can also say 計算しそこなう / 留学しそこなう, leaving out を. In this case, you could see them as compound verbs consisting of "する-verb 「計算する/留学する」+ verb 「損なう」", rather than "noun「計算/留学」+ compound verb「し損なう」".)

損なう is a verb meaning "to ruin/spoil/hurt", e.g.

健康を損なう "ruin/lose one's health"
友情を損なう "lose friendship"

And 損なう can be attached to another verb to make a compound verb, such as し損なう, and:

乗りそこなう "fail to catch → miss (a train, bus, etc.)".
撃ち損なう "miss the mark/shot"

I don't think we say 損ないする.


支払う is a verb (not a compound verb する + 払う), meaning "to pay (money/bill)".
[Edit: As in @broccoliforest's comment, 支払う is derived from し (continuative form of verb する) + 払う (verb "pay").]
払う can be used for ほこりを払う "to brush/dust", 注意を払う "to pay (attention)", as well as for "to pay (money/bill)". I think 払う is more casual and less formal, and 支払う is more used in a formal/business situation.
I don't think we say 払いする, but you can say 支払いをする: noun 「支払い」(payment) + object particle 「を」 + verb 「する」.

[Edit: You don't use just 「損ない + verb する」「払い + verb する」(turning 損ない/払い into a する-verb), but if you're referring to phrases like 「損ないはする」「払いはする」, you can say like 「損ない+は+しない」「払い+は+しない」「損ない+は+する(が~)」「払い+は+する(が~)」etc. and it's a different usage than simply turning a noun into a する-verb.)


So, my answer to your final question can I do this with any verb? is, no, you can not always attach し (continuative form of する) to the top of a verb, and not all nouns can be used for a する-verb.

  • To check if a noun can be a suru-verb, you can look up the noun in a 国語辞典 to see if it can be 「自サ変」 or 「他サ変」, for example, in 明鏡国語辞典 you'll see: 「りかい【理解】〘名・他サ変〙➊...」meaning 理解 can be a 名詞(noun) and 他サ変(transitive suru-verb) – Chocolate May 16 '16 at 8:13
  • 「支払う」は一応、語源的には「する」+「払う」です。「支」を当ててるのは、「収支」「支出」などのようにこの字が「払う」の意味を持っていることからの連想です。あと、「払いする」などは、もしかしたら「払いはする」などに出てくるような分離した言い方のことを指してるのかもしれないです。 – broccoli forest May 16 '16 at 10:43
  • @broccoliforest しらざった! でもどう編集したらええかわかりまへんわ~ – Chocolate May 16 '16 at 13:34
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仕損なう and 損なう are actually different verbs. Same with 支払う and 払う. What you are seeing is probably people just writing hiragana instead of the kanji that is supposed to represent し.

〜する is just the standard "to do ~ .. ". In your example, 損なう appears as a noun 損ない, so you can add する just like you can add it to any noun, although many times you will encounter omission of the particle を。

  • Thanks @strawberry jam So adding "shi" before is not like adding "Suru" at the end correct? Somehow I got the impression from someone that adding "shi" was another form of the original "suru" – Kevin Boucher May 15 '16 at 17:17
  • And I guess this also means that you can't just add "shi" before any verb right? – Kevin Boucher May 15 '16 at 17:20
  • @KevinBoucher In general, no. Really just set phrases and standard "auxiliary verbs": ~はじめる ~かける ~おわる ... – Brandon May 16 '16 at 5:30

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