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Attempting to make some flashcards from the dialogue in Dad of Light on Netflix.

Near the very beginning of Ep1, we have the following:

夏休みにやることもなくフローリングの床に寝そべって足の力でクルクル回るという

English subtitles read:

I had nothing else better to do during summer vacation than lie on the kitchen floor and turn in circles using my legs.

my question is about やることもなく -- I can think of two ways this could be:

"During summer vacation I did nothing. I was lying on the floor, turning in circles using my legs."

--or--

"During summer vaction I did nothing except lie on the floor, turning in circles using my legs."

Can anyone point me toward a resource to understand this usage? I found something close from user Chocolate here.

  • 「夏休みにやることもなくフローリングの床に寝そべって足の力でクルクル回るという」 is not a complete sentence. Can you provide the full sentence? 続きがありますよね? – Chocolate Nov 30 '17 at 2:26
  • P.S. I found it. The full sentence is 「あのころの僕はといえば 夏休みにやることもなく フローリングの床に寝そべって 足の力でクルクル回るという 謎の遊びに夢中だった。」, right? fmsubs.com/subtitles/Fainaru-fantaji-XIV-Hikari-no-otousan/… – Chocolate Nov 30 '17 at 9:35
  • @Chocolate , that's right. I might be reaching beyond my level w/ this because I thought I was chopping two sentences in half... woops! – Floydius Nov 30 '17 at 20:21
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夏休みにやることもなく...

means "During summer vacation I had nothing to do, and/so..."

「やること」 → "things to do" "something to do"
「やることがない」 → "have nothing do to" (≂ 「ヒマだ」 in your context)

cf:
「話すこと」 → "things to talk about"
「話すことがない」 → "have nothing to talk about"
「書くこと」 → "things to write about"
「書くことがない」 → "have nothing to write about"
「見るもの」 → "things to see"
「見るものがない」 → "there's nothing to see"

The continuative form (連用形) な is used here to connect two clauses, like a conjunction "and" or "so".


As for the も replacing the が, it's used to indicate...

も 🈩〘副助*〙
⓬ さりげなくとりたてて、文意をやわらげる。
「お腹すいたし、食事にするか」「天気いいから、散歩でもしよう」
-- from 明鏡国語辞典 (*明鏡 categorizes 係助詞/binding particle as 副助詞/adverbial particle)

  • when you say なく is the continuative form (that's usually て form, right?) what verb is it the continuative form of? – Floydius Nov 30 '17 at 22:17
  • @Floydius The なく is the continuative form of the i-adjective ない. Both なく and なくて can be used to connect clauses. (なく sounds less casual.) For more on this: japanese.stackexchange.com/a/14409/9831 / japanese.stackexchange.com/q/2934/9831 – Chocolate Nov 30 '17 at 22:59
  • that is extremely helpful -- thank you! i had actually looked up conjugation tables for ある but only found なくて there. much appreciated! – Floydius Nov 30 '17 at 23:00
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(1) 夏休みにやることもない。そして、フローリングの床に寝そべって
(2) 夏休みにやることもなくフローリングの床に寝そべって
"During summer vacation I did nothing. I was lying on the floor, turning in circles using my legs."

"point me toward a resource"は出来ませんが、質問者が考えた1番目の案は、(2) ではなく、(1) に対するものです。 (2) は (1) と違って、「やることもなく」と連用形で終わっていますので、例えば「やることもなく ~する」のように用言が続く必要があります。

(2) の例では、「~する」に相当する部分は「(床に)寝そべる」です。

従って、(2) の解釈は質問者が提示した2番目の案だけです。

"During summer vaction I did nothing except lie on the floor, turning in circles using my legs."

因みに、質問者が提示した下記の例は、(1) と同じく終止形「ない」で終わっています。

(3) ベルが人を突き飛ばすこともない。-- The bell wouldn't ever push people away, either. / Nor would it ever push people away.

  • Once my Japanese is good enough to read all of this fully, I'm certain it will make sense to me! Thank you! – Floydius Nov 30 '17 at 20:24
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I think なく is close to "without".
So やることもなく is "without even something I want to do."

I interpret the く as a word expressing a state or a circumstance of someone/something.

for example

彼は朝食を食べることなく家を出て行った

If translating it into English, it would be like

"He left home without having breakfast."

And く is a conjunction. it make us feel a connection to the following clause.
Your two sentences are very good, but you shouldn't punctuate after く. If I translate that sentence into English, it would be like this:

During summer vacation, without even something I want to do I was lying on the floor, turning in circles using my legs.

So I mean, く expresses a state in pallarel rather than a cause and result in order.

I'm so sorry for my bad English.

  • Your english is much better than my Japanese. thanks for the explanation! – Floydius Nov 30 '17 at 20:30

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