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What is the right way to use お見舞い? Are the examples below all correct? Are there any differences in nuance between using the "を" and the "の" construction?

彼のお見舞いに行きたい。
彼をお見舞いに行きたい。

私は妻をお見舞いに病院にいった。
私は妻のお見舞いに病院にいった。

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    I wouldn't say 見舞い if the person I'm visiting is my wife, especially in a context where I refer to her as 妻.
    – aguijonazo
    Dec 22, 2021 at 23:02

2 Answers 2

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The grammar

The word お見舞【みま】い is a noun. Consequently, it does not make any sense grammatically or semantically to use を in your two example sentences:

  • 彼【かれ】[を]{●}お見舞【みま】いに行【い】きたい。
  • 私【わたし】は妻【つま】[を]{●}お見舞【みま】いに病院【びょういん】にいった。

The object particle を is generally used to mark the object of a transitive verb. The upper sentence has the adjective (technically, stative verb) 行きたい ("desirable to go"), which describes a quality of a subject, and thus does not take an object. The lower sentence has the verb いった, the perfective form of いく ("to go"), which is an intransitive verb, and thus does not take an object.

Since the word お見舞【みま】い is a noun, your sample sentences using の work better:

  • 彼【かれ】[の]{●}お見舞【みま】いに行【い】きたい。
  • 私【わたし】は妻【つま】[の]{●}お見舞【みま】いに病院【びょういん】にいった。

The word お見舞い

This derives as follows:

  • お見舞【みま】い = honorific prefix お + 見舞【みま】い.
  • 見舞【みま】い = the noun form, also the -masu stem (technically, the 連用形【れんようけい】, the "continuative form" or "stem form") of verb 見舞う.
  • 見舞【みま】う = compound verb, combining 見【み】る ("to see, to look at") + 舞【ま】う ("to dance", but also "to go around", and the root of other verbs like 回【まわ】る ["to turn around"] and 回【まわ】す ["to turn something around, to twist something around"]) → combined meaning of "to go around and look at [someone]".

How to tell what you're looking at

Generally speaking, if you have a word ending in an -i sound, it can't be the dictionary form of a verb, since those always end in an -u sound instead. You know immediately that this word either 1) isn't a verb, or 2) is a conjugated form of a verb.

If you have a dictionary to hand, looking up the word is the quickest way to be sure. :) If you can't find the word in the dictionary, try the following:

  1. Remove any initial お or ご -- these might be honorary prefixes that aren't actually part of the word.
  2. Change the final -i to -u and see if there's an entry for a verb with this form.

If you don't have a dictionary to hand, look for usage examples -- Google can be your friend for this. Examine what you find, and pay attention to the particles and the overall grammar.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – chocolate
    Dec 23, 2021 at 13:54
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I would say...

見舞いに行きたい。 -- A
見舞いに行きたい。 -- B

私は先生 見舞いに病院にいった。 -- A
私は先生 見舞いに病院にいった。 -- B


A: 「~の + Noun(=お見舞い) + に + 行く」
B: 「~を + 連用形Verb(=見舞い) + に行く」(cf 「映画を見に行く」「ご飯を食べに行く」)

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