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How should I translate こともある in this sentence (response to '何それ?'):

あなたが辞書を使うなんて、はなはだ珍妙なこともあるもんです

Literal translation of はなはだ珍妙なこともある would be 'there are also really odd things', but that makes no sense.

One suggestion seems to be that it means 'among other things' so I get:

Because (もん), among other things (こともある), it's really odd that (なんて) you use a dictionary

Is this a correct translation? If so can anyone offer a suggestion as to how we arrive at that from the literal translation? (and why do I have to keep reaching for my advanced grammar book to read a children's story? It's really dispiriting.)

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The latter part is in line with: "wow, strange things happen!"

もん (ものだ) is used here emphatically to indicate emotion (hence I decided for "wow").

こともある literally stands for occasionally, but as the English verb to happen already covers the occasional aspect the meaning can be expressed just with "things happen".

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    +1 even for the first sentence alone. – l'électeur Oct 22 '15 at 0:48
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Literal translation of ”こともある” is "It happens / takes place sometimes / Whatever happens happens - as reffered to by Donald RRumsfeld," e.g., "週中に会社を休むこともある - I happen to take a dayoff sometimes in a weekday."

In addition, you'd better to register the pattern, "....するなんて ...もんです(もんだ)" as a common set of phrase to mean a surprise and cynicism in your collocation list.

For example,

女の子がボクシングをするなんてたまげたもんです(もんだ) - Girls do boxing? It's a surprise.

豪華船で世界一周するなんて豪華なもんです(もんだ) ー I heard you are going to make a trip around the world by a luxury liner. It's really gorgeous.

そのくらいでくたばるなんて、ひ弱なものですなア(もんですな)ー You are exhausted with that much exercise. What a feeble guy you are.

一千兆円も借金があってお金をじゃぶじゃぶ流すって、安倍もいい気なもんですなア - To flush a massive cash into the market with 1000 trillion-yen national debt behind, Abe is really taking things too easy.

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I agree that ものだ is used here to indicate emotion, but this emotion is not "wow". Let me offer another explanation from my reference book:

~ものだ / ~ものではない is used to express something that is obvious, or that obviously ought to be.

Short expression for memorizing: 弱い者いじめをするものじゃないよ = Weak people should not be treated badly!

Examples of usage:

(father to his child) もう10時半だよ。早く寝なさい。子供は10時前に寝るものだ。

だれにも一つや二つは苦手なことがあるものだ。

So, my translation would be "You are using dictionaries and the like, but well, there are really weird things [in the world]." And this "も" in "珍妙なことある" implies, that using a dictionary is one of these "really weird things".

Hope it helps =)

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