I'm confused about how と is used in this sentence (乗るとすぐメールを・・・). What purpose does it serve?
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English speaking learners of Japanese are usually first exposed to
と as being something like "and" (though it's not technically "and"), as in
りんごとオレンジとバナナ. However, that's just one use, and you can see some more explanation of
と and it's implications of consequence at the top of this answer.
乗るとすぐメールを・・・ means roughly something like, "when they get on the train...". Given the context of the longer sentence, it's saying, "when they get on the train, they soon start mailing with their phone..."
It might be tempting to translate your sentence as "they get on the train and then they soon mail," because that makes a certain sense in connecting the kind of
りんごとオレンジとバナナ with the kind of
と in your sentence. Which I say because that was a mistake I was making. However, "and then" would be
そして. In this case, this
と in your sentence isn't a variation on the
と used to list things. It's just "when", as in "when X happens, then Y".
Hope that helps.
This と means "when", not "and".
That it might make sense "in English" if you use "and" when translating the sentence into English is of little importance as we are discussing Japanese here.
「 (Verb phrase A) + と + すぐ + (Verb phrase B)」 =
"(B happens) as soon as (A happens)." or
"(B happens) in no time when/whenever (A happens)."
I am sure some of you have seen this と when it means "if". Its usage as "when" is actually very similar to that.
@Dave M G's comment:
And yes バナナとりんご is a "case".
two three categories of cases, [banana], [bananas] and [banana's], and you can say (1)"I buy a banana and an apple" as well as (2)"I buy a banana". In both sentences, the 'banana' appears as it is in common, but you have to say "mom's apple" instead of "mom apple".
In Japanese, you have to use different noun forms even between (1) and (2), and say "I buy a bananato and an appleto" instead of "I buy a banana and an apple". But some parts are optional and you can reduce it into "I buy (a) bananato (and) (an) apple/appleto". i.e. バナナと、そして、りんごとを買う → バナナと（そして）りんご（と）を買う
Likewise, although you have to say "I bought it yesterday" instead of "I buy it yesterday", you can say (3)"if they board" as well as (4)"They board." But in Japanese you have to use differnt verb forms even between (3) and (4), like "if they boardto". (Japanese doesn't have any words that REALLY match 'if')
Suffix [s] as in 'thinks' and the one as in 'things' are different though they are both [s].