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If my understanding is correct, the pattern verb+こと is used to "noun-ify" a verb, similar to the to-infinitive in English. For example, to translate "My dream is to become a programmer", I would say 私の夢はプログラマーになることです.

However, I see expressions like 勉強すること "to study" and デビューすること "to debut", but aren't 勉強 and デビュー already nouns? Thus, is 勉強すること basically the same as 勉強?

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You're right. For example,「勉強する」 (as a verb) essentially has the same meaning as 「勉強」をする (as a noun), and they are pretty much used interchangeably. If you want to get technical, the first one is 'to study' while the second is 'to do studying'. The same applies to your question. Both adding「すること」and not adding it are valid. That is because some verbs already pass as nouns.

「勉強すること」more accurately means the 'action of studying', and 「勉強」by itself is like simply 'studying'. They both work, but perhaps just using the noun on its own is less awkward, as long as you know it's already a noun.

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