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What does 之为 mean in the following sentence?

如果把人生比之为杠杆,信念则好像是它的“支点”,具备这个恰当的支点,才可能成为一个强有力的人。   

Thank you, Rachel

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In [人生][比之为][杠杆]

  • [人生] (life) is the main object.

  • [比] short for [比喻] (metaphorize). It is the verb.

  • [之] (it) functions as an objective pronoun. In this case, the object is '人生'

  • [为] (as being) is the auxiliary verb.

  • [杠杆] (lever) is the relative object, which is the 'metaphor' for ' '人生'

'之为' means 'it as being' here.

"把人生比之为杠杆" = "Take life and metaphorize it as being a lever."

*Depend on the object, '之' can represent any objective pronoun (that, him, her them, it)

More Example:

"把日本視之为敵人" = "Take Japan and see it as being an enemy"

*You can omit the objective pronoun '之' in these sentence:

'把人生比为杠杆' ; '把日本視为敵人'

~

*You can omit 'being' in these sentence:

'metaphorize life as a 'lever' ; 'see Japan as an enemy'

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Like Tang Ho says,之为 is not 1 word, you could write '之为 = it as' or just leave out 之。

如果把人生比之为杠杆,信念则好像是它的“支点”,具备这个恰当的支点,才可能成为一个强有力的人。
If we liken life to a lever, faith then is the fulcrum, only with suitable leverage point can you become a powerful person.

(Did my best to alliterate!)

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