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This is about this scene from volume 33 of Attack on Titan (hidden to prevent spoilers, continue reading the question at your own risk)

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I feel I'm close to understanding this sentence but some parts don't make sense:
「まさか。。。こんなのんびり過ごすことになるなんて。。。思いもしなかったよ」
I understand it as "I can't believe we spend our time leisurely, the thought of (spending our time leisurely) didn't become (my own thought), you know"

This part:
「まさか。。。こんなのんびりすごす」actually modifies the 「こと」 that comes after it and its meaning on its own is "I can't believe I\we get to spend our time in such a relaxed manner" or something of the sort.

Next, that 「こと」 is is the target of the other sentence:
「ことになるなんて。。。思いもしなかったよ」- which is the hard part for me. It seems that the sentence means that "My thoughts didn't become this こと". What I don't get is going on with the 「なんて」 and 「しなかった」because the sentence already has a verb 「なる」so why not say 「ことになんて思いもならなかったよ」or maybe there are actually three sentences here:

  1. 「まさか。。。こんなのんびりすごす」- modifies the 「こと」
  2. 「ことになる」- modifies the 「なんて思い」
  3. 「思いもしなかったよ」- His thoughts never "did" the "becoming" of his situation.

Thanks in advance!

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思いもしなかった is 思わなかった with も inserted for the sense of “not even.” Though it might look like a noun, this 思い should be seen as part of a verb. In fact, [V ます-stem]-はする/しない and [V ます-stem]-もする/しない work for any verb.

こんなのんびり過ごすことになるなんて思わなかったよ [without も]

こんなのんびり過ごすことになる is a quoted clause that denotes what the speakers didn’t (even) think. So the verb なる is used inside a separate clause from する (actually 思う). なんて here works as a quotation marker with a dismissive tone. In this particular context, it emphasizes the unexpectedness of the result (along with まさか) compared to just と(は).

こんなのんびり過ごすことになると(は)思わなかったよ [without も and なんて]

こんなのんびり過ごす indeed modifies こと, but the subject of なる is not “my thoughts.” Remember the whole of こんなのんびり過ごすことになる is what the speaker didn’t think. “My thoughts” don’t kick in yet. The subject here is like “it” referring to the situation surrounding the speaker. ことになる adds a sense of “to turn out” or “to end up.”

こんなのんびり過ごすと(は)思わなかったよ [without も, なんて and ことになる]

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  • Thanks for the detailed reply. I know that some verbs may be joined using the い-stem of one verb and the "Dictionary Form" of another but I don't understand how can a particle come in between the two - is there no other way to look at it? Must I consider a whole sentence a verb? It feels wrong to think about like that. Also if I understand correctly both まさか and なんて emphasize the disbelief and you've shown that you can get by without なんて - but can you do the same by removing just まさか or would the meaning of the sentence change? It feels superfluous. Jun 15, 2023 at 18:37
  • @UriGreenberg - I guess you could see the ます-stem as one way to turn the verb into a noun, but it really works with any verb, not only in the form you find in dictionaries but also causative, passive and causative-passive forms, like 食べさせられもしない. You would have to see 食べさせられ as a noun, which seems unnecessary. まさか just emphasizes the disbelief further. It can be removed. It's an adverb after all.
    – aguijonazo
    Jun 15, 2023 at 20:35
  • Its weird you can just shove a 助詞 to the middle of a verb but I see why you're saying you can't treat it as a noun in general. If もしない means "not even" then what does はしない mean? By the way, we can say that even 食べさせられもしない is just taking the ます-stem of 食べさせられる so it is quite consistent in that and 食べさせられ can be though of as a noun as taking the ます-stem of a verb is one way to get a noun version of a verb. Jun 15, 2023 at 21:49
  • @UriGreenberg - は does what it normally does there. It singles out the verb to put it in contrast with other verbs. Note that は and も are not case particles like が and に. They are in the same category as words like こそ. Adding emphasis is among their functions. 思い and 食べ might have other usages as nouns. But what would you do with a "noun" like 食べさせられ?
    – aguijonazo
    Jun 16, 2023 at 0:26
  • Technically 食べさせられ is the ます-stem of 食べさせられる so it is kind of a noun the same way 食べ is a noun (as the ます-steam of 食べる). Jun 16, 2023 at 5:05

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