Without really planning to, ~ A phrase indicating that the subject does s.t. without paying much attention or that when, where, to whom, etc. s.t. took place is unclear. Without really planning to, I spent all day playing computer games. 特に〜しようと思うのではなく
When 「〜と(も)なく／〜と(も)なしに」is attached to a question word (or question word and particle), it expresses uncertainty (about when, where, who, what). Alternatively, when used on either end of verbs expressing sensation, perception or speculation, as in「見るともなく見る／聞くともなく聞く」, it indicates that the action happens unintentionally or without conscious effort. This model can be said to be representative of Japanese phrases expressing involuntary/unconscious actions.
When a verb precedes ともなく that verb is usually repeated,however this is not always the case
ともなしに is equivalent to ともなく and the two can be used interchangeably.
Related toとなくbut となく is for only limited words such as どことなく、何となく、誰かれとなく、それとなく この文章はどことなく変だ。 This passage is strange somewhere (but I cannot tell where) 哲也のことが何となくきになる I'm concerned about Tetsuya somehow 由里はだれかれとなくよく人の面倒をみる。 Yuri gives a lot of help to anyone (without discriminating) それとなく飯田に聞いてみたらどう。 Why don't you ask Iida about it indirectly (lit. without making the intention obvious)
isn't #8008 something more like, "directed at no one in particular, he started railing about volunteer work to help the earthquake victims."? ...or am i missing something?
I think example #5181 is different grammar. 待つこと、もなく、〜
Correct! ex #5181 does not belong here.
#5986 could be translated as: I just happened to glance outside, when suddenly a large crow flew towards me.
見るともなくぼんやり外を見ていたら can be translated as "I was looking outside absent-mindedly without really seeing anything....."