What is し doing in these sentences?

サッカーをし に行く 。

にほんごを勉強し に行きます 。

I’m unsure what the し is in these sentences for.

They translate to: to go play soccer and i will go study Japanese.

It seems to me it should be する

It is する, but it’s been conjugated into the ます stem (the part that would go before ます if you used that form, so the し in します or the 見 in 見ます).

That form plus a movement verb means to go / come / etc. for the purpose of doing the action.

しに行く go to do
見に行く go to see
食べに来る come to eat


Use the masu conjugation stem (remove the masu) and add the に particle to denote going somewhere to do something.

I will go to the mall to go shopping.

モールへ買物し (する masu form’s stem)行く。


Tomorrow, I will go to Tokyo to meet my American friend living in Korea. (I think. The ‘アメリカの韓国に住んでいるの’ bit might be slightly off.)

I think this form can be used with other verbs, but I am not certain. It might only be used with 行く and possibly 来る. I think for all other verbs, you would use ため、ために、ための.

Side note, the ~に行く structure specifically means going somewhere to do the thing. The English usage of “I’m going to study Japanese” (which basically means “I intend to” or “I’m about to”) is translated differently into Japanese.


If you are using the Genki book, these sentences illustrate the grammar concept taught on page 174.

destination of movement purpose of movement に {行く、来る、帰る}

For instance,
destination of movement = こうえん
purpose = サッカーをし
=> I will go to the park to play soccer

In the original example サッカーをし行く the “destination of movement” is omitted. I am not sure but perhaps it is not necessary or implied. I think it would translate as “I will go to play soccer”. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

you can just put the noun straight after the verb to make a modifying clause for the noun.
also ‘go to meet’ 会いに行く

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