When should I use し, するの and すること as nouns? Not just the verb "する", but any verb e.g. ”見”, "見るの" and "見ること"/ "書き", "書くの" and "書くこと".

Actually I am more or less clear about the usage of するの and すること, but I am confused about how to use し. Intuitively I feel like し is usually used before “に” (e.g. 映画を見に行く), as noun adjuncts (e.g. 引け目、抜け目、女性向けの枕) as material nouns (e.g. お握り、煙(けむり)), but I cannot think of or find an accurate description of the usage of し. A lot of people have asked about the differences between するの and すること, but questions concerning the し form are scarce. Therefore, since し, するの, すること can all be considered as the noun form of a verb, I hope a global picture of the usage of the three can be explained.

  • 2
    This is a pretty broad question. Do you have specific examples that you're finding hard to make sense of? Provide a bit more context. Otherwise this is far to broad to provide much of a helpful answer.
    – A.Ellett
    Sep 1, 2021 at 20:30
  • 2
    To give a bit of perspective, if you say 勉強するのだ this usage is quite different from if you say 勉強するのが好きだ. Similarly, with すること, depending on what sort of structure it's embedded within, its function can be quite different. It can be a bit like asking what the difference is between saying "does" and "doing": well if you're given "the does and donts of blah are..." vs "I'm doing well" vs "I'm doing my homework". These are three quite different uses of what appears superficially to be the same word. Similarly, するの can function quite differently from one context or another.
    – A.Ellett
    Sep 1, 2021 at 20:41
  • 1
    Anyhow my comments are just to clarify why a bit more context could be useful.
    – A.Ellett
    Sep 1, 2021 at 20:42
  • @A.Ellett , thank you for the suggestions! I have revised my question a little bit. Actually, I intentionally made the question broad. Maybe the revised version sound clearer?
    – FSY
    Sep 2, 2021 at 0:24
  • So, it seems it's not necessarily the verbする that you have questions about but the uses of the masu-stem for forming compound nouns and serving in isolation as a noun. Is that it?
    – A.Ellett
    Sep 2, 2021 at 0:25

1 Answer 1


I guess your issue is related to 連用形の名詞化. Correct me if I'm misreading your question, I may delete this answer.

From 連用形 entry of Wikipedia


From this article

日本語には、動詞の名詞化にあたって、動詞の諸活用形中の一形である連用形が、その ままの形で名詞に転化するという、簡単な方式が古くから存続している(西尾 1961)。例え ば、 (1) 動き、遊び、扱い、悩み、嗜み、受け入れ、立ち読み などがある。本稿ではその過程を転成、または名詞化と呼ぶ。それら動詞連用形から形成 されたと考えられる名詞を「連用形名詞」1と呼ぶことにする。 ただし、上述の転成方法はすべての動詞に適用するのではなく、例えば、「打つ」には「打 ち」、「隠れる」には「隠れ」といった名詞はあまり見当たらない。動詞のうち、30%-40% しか名詞化しないとされる

So as the latter says, this nominalization does not work for all verbs. In particular, 見 or し or 書き (by themselves) is never considered as a noun.

見 in 映画を見に行く is mostly likely to be treated just as a te-form of 見る.

The linked article seemingly discusses for which verbs the type of nominalization works, but practically the only way would be just remember as you come across such nouns.

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