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My questions are regarding portions of the following sentence in bold:

幸{さいわ}いナイフが小さいのと、親指の骨が堅{かた}かったので、今だに親指は手に付いて居る。

More generally, I am wondering about the 「〜のと〜ので」 construct presented here. (I am assuming that it can be treated as a single construct)

  1. What role does 「のと」 play here? Is it simply linking multiple reasons for 「ので」, or is there some relation between the reasons listed?

  2. Can 「のと」 also be used in this fashion for more than two reasons?

  3. What would be the difference between the above and the following?

幸{さいわ}いナイフが小さくて、親指の骨が堅{かた}かったので、今だに親指は手に付いて居る。

7

The difference between XくてYので and XのとYので is that くて can sometimes imply a causal relationship between X and Y.

In a context where the two reasons could possibly be related, a sentence with くて can be interpreted as:

頭が痛くて、昨日あまり眠れなかったので、集中できない。
I can't concentrate because [ I couldn't sleep well yesterday because [my head hurt] ].

Using のと will unambiguously separate the two reasons:

頭が痛いのと、昨日あまり眠れなかったので、集中できない。
I can't concentrate because [my head hurts] and [I couldn't sleep well yesterday].

This is not an issue in your example from 『坊っちゃん』, because knife size cannot possibly be interpreted as the cause of the rigidity of his thumb bone. There is no significant difference between のと and くて in this case.

TL;DR のと is a way of simply listing reasons, while くて can sometimes denote a relationship between them. のと can be used in this way to list more than two reasons.

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+50
  1. What role does 「のと」 play here? Is it simply linking multiple reasons for 「ので」, or is there some relation between the reasons listed?

Yes. It is linking multiple reasons for "ので". "のと" can be broken up into "の" and "と", where the former is appended to the adjective to make it a noun (e.g. "小{ちい}さいの" = "小さいこと" = "the fact that the knife was small"), and the latter simply plays the role of a conjunction (e.g. "AとB" = "A and B").

The word preceding "のと" can be a verb, い-adjective or な-adjective, with the な appended. Examples:

  1. あるのと
  2. 気{き}づいたのと
  3. 入{はい}っているのと
  4. 知{し}られていたのと
  5. 高{たか}いのと
  6. 静{しず}かなのと

You can replace "ので" with something that would be equivalent, such as "ことから" or "おかげで", or in spoken dialogue, where the last part of the sentence is implied and easily inferred by the listener, omit it altogether.

  1. Can 「のと」 also be used in this fashion for more than two reasons?

Yes, you can string together more than just two reasons with "のと" to make a list of reasons why something is the way it is, or why something happened. However, it might be stylistically better to vary what conjunctions you use; this especially if it is a long list.

An example:

幸{さいわ}いナイフが小さいのと、親{おや}指{ゆび}の骨{ほね}が堅{かた}かったのと、手{て}袋{ぶくろ}をしていたのと、すでに救{きゅう}急{きゅう}車{しゃ}を呼{よ}んでいたので、今{いま}だに親指は手に付{つ}いている。

But as you can see, it gets a little bit repetitive after more than one or two uses.

  1. What would be the difference between the above and the following?

They are two ways of saying the same thing. The て-form of an い-adjective is used to create a conjunction between the first and second clauses, where the clauses are independent of each other.

In the first clause, the knife is being described, and in the second clause, the hardness of the finger is being described. The combination of these attributes result in the speaker still having his or her thumb attached.

Using "のと" instead of the て-form would, however, imply at an earlier stage in the sentence that the properties being listed all contributed to a common effect (lowering the probability of cutting a finger off, in this case).

  • Regarding your sentence "You can replace "ので" with something that would be equivalent, such as "ことから" or "おかげで", or omit it altogether.", I do not see how it could be omitted altogether. – l'électeur Dec 3 '15 at 23:20
  • @l'électeur I was thinking of cases where it would be a reply to a question, where the verb was implied and omitted. Like: A: なぜあんな軽傷で済んだのか? B: 幸いナイフが小さいのと、親指の骨が堅かったのと(ね) But perhaps that only sounds good if B is interrupted. – Amani Kilumanga Dec 4 '15 at 0:20

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