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お母さんが頭を下げて試供品を受け取ると、まる子がぴたりとさわぐのをやめるのは同時だった。
Mother bowed, and when she took the free sample, at the same time Maruko suddenly stopped making a racket.

What is the purpose of the の in bold in this sentence? Is it like the の in のだ i.e. "It was when mother took the free sample that ..."? Is the meaning changed if I remove の?

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「お母さんが頭を下げて試供品を受け取る + + と、まる子がぴたりとさわぐのをやめる + + は同時だった。」

The basic structure of that sentence is:

「AとBは[同時]{どうじ}だった」 = "A and B took place at the same time."

A and B, in this case, both happen to be mini-sentences, don't they?

A: 「お[母]{かあ}さんが[頭]{あたま}を[下]{さ}げて[試供品]{しきょうひん}を[受]{う}け[取]{と}る」 = "Mother bows as she takes the free sample"

B: 「まる[子]{こ}がぴたりとさわぐのをやめる」 = "Maruko suddenly stops making a racket"

Now, in order to say "A and B happened at the same time." rather than "A happened at the same time B happened.", would one not feel like nominalizing both mini-sentenes? A Japanese-speaker would, so he would attach his go-to nominalizer 「の」.

The sentence itself is in the past tense - 「同時だった」, but one would need to notice that the two actions are not - 「受け取る」 and 「やめる」.

Grammatically speaking, 「同時だった」 at the very end is the main verb phrase of the sentence. The far longer part that precedes is only the subject of the sentence.

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  • So obvious that と is 'and' now you've pointed it out. I feel like an idiot. Many thanks. Commented May 13, 2016 at 0:23

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