Verb［る］(A) + ともなく(1) + Verb［たら］(2)(A)
(2) Verb + と
This pattern is a combination of the case-marking particle と, the adverbial particle も, and the conjunctive form of the い-Adjective ない. It will be seen after the dictionary form of verbs, and can be thought of as literally meaning something similar to 'even while not intending to (B), while (A), (B)'.
昨日テレビを見るともなく見ていたら、急にお母さんが出てきたから驚いた。When I was absentmindedly watching TV yesterday, I was surprised when my mother suddenly appeared.
- 話を聞くともなく、先生と黒板の方向をぼーっと見ていた。I listened absentmindedly while staring towards the direction of my teacher and the blackboard.
飲み会で上司の話を聞くともなしに聞いていたら、「お前はどう思う」と聞かれたから適当に返事した。When I was at a drinking party and was absentmindedly listening to my boss, he asked what I thought, so I gave him a random response.
- 暇だったから近所を歩くともなしに歩いていたら、高校の同級生にばったりあった。When I was mindlessly walking in my neighborhood because I had nothing to do, I met my classmate from high school.
When I was absentmindedly eating dinner with Yamada-san, he suddenly confessed (his feelings for me) and it really surprised me.
I listened absentmindedly to the announcements of the winners, when, to my disbelief, my name came up.
I looked at my neighbor's window without paying attention, and, to my surprise, there was a naked person.
Yesterday, when I was thinking about nothing in particular, I was badly stung by a wasp, and without thinking shouted: 'Ouch!'
Novel: 'It seems that he fell asleep while he was mindlessly watching TV late at night.'
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