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I came across a rather interesting sentence spread across two bubbles:

  • 一瞬で空気を変えちゃうなんて
  • シャチ君だけだよ

Instinctively, I would read the first bubble simply as something like “To think he actually changes the mood in an instant.” but the second bubble after it interests me as I don't know whether it creates a connected sentence with the first and whether it would actually mean something like “He's the only one who would actually change the mood in an instant.” As in can say “野菜を食べるなんて” also serve as a nominalizer that means “The one who eats vegetables.” or only a nominalizer for “The fact that [he] would actually eat vegetables.” as in “野菜を食べるなんて信じられない。”?

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  • It is unclear what the relation is between your first bullet point and your second. As with many things, context is key. Commented Jun 21 at 17:18

1 Answer 1

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Where did that "to think" come from? This なんて is not a quotation marker. なんて has several related uses, but this なんて is an emphatic and nuanced topic marker, but with an optional nominalization function (i.e., it can follow both a noun and the dictionary form of a verb). In other words, grammatically, it's both a topic marker and a nominalizer here, behaving like のは.

なんて

[副助]《体言や活用語の言い切りの形に付いて

❶叙述のために取り上げる。など。
「あなたなんて嫌いだ」「映画なんてめったに見ないよ」「旅行に行けるなんていいなあ」

(Source: 明鏡国語辞典 第三版)

So your sentence is roughly the same as 一瞬で空気を変えちゃうのはシャチ君だけだよ ("It's only he who can change the mood in an instant").

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  • "To think that ...” is simply an English idiom that marks an emotional perception by the speaker; it's often used as a translation of “〜なんて”
    – Zorf
    Commented Jun 22 at 1:14
  • @Zorf Thanks, then let's use that idiom but think that the subject of 変えちゃう is unspecified until the latter half of the sentence.
    – naruto
    Commented Jun 22 at 2:33

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