2

不是要求小组单位做报告吗?

Context: a conversation about an economics class in high school.

The Chinese Grammar Wiki says "以 A 为 B" means "using/taking A as B", but it still doesn't make sense to me.

  • 1
    What part of " (use/take) small groups (as) units" you not understand ? You can apply "using/taking A as B" in different sentences, for example, "(use) pound (as) standard"; "(take) five people (as) one team" – Tang Ho Sep 8 '17 at 20:25
  • 1
    Am I not asking you to report by (以) group as (为) a unit? – user16115 Sep 8 '17 at 20:25
  • 1
    不是要求以小组为单位做报告 I do not ask you to form groups (in order) to make out reports cf. jukuu:4. The teacher asked the students to sit in groups so as to have group discussion. 老师让学生们以小组为单位坐好,以便进行小组讨论。 – user6065 Sep 8 '17 at 21:27
  • @user6065;@user16115, The speaker may not be the requester/commander in this case. So, "Am I not asking..." or "I do not ask..." could be wrong interpretation in this case. – dan Sep 9 '17 at 3:39
  • reporting your understanding, at team level. – Daniel Yeung Sep 15 '17 at 10:33
1

An appropriate translation will be:

Aren't we supposed to do the report in small groups?

以小组为单位 literally means working as a unit (in small groups). The wiki is not wrong in translating 以 as 'using/taking'. The phrase simply means we should take 'small groups' as a unit to do the work.

The subject of the verb 要求 has been omitted in this case. Someone has apparently given the instruction to work in groups. That's why the speaker is asking to clarify the status of the instruction.

  • 'Supposed' is more like 'should' to me, which is much more weaker than 要求 I think. – dan Sep 9 '17 at 8:00
  • @dan, 要求 does come across as quite strong when taken out of context, especially if you think of it as something loosely equivalent to 'demand'. But I think 'supposed' is precisely its meaning over here. Take this phrase, for example: 「不是应该以小组做讨论吗?」 I don't see a change of voice over here. – Sati Sep 9 '17 at 8:14
  • Actually not, 不是应该以小组做讨论吗? vs 不是要求以小组为单位做报告吗? The former implies ‘we should not do this way’ and the latter implies 'we can not do this way'. The speaker conveys a strong tone here, and it could sometimes be considered even as a blame if it was said by a leader. – dan Sep 9 '17 at 8:26
  • I think you misinterpreted the meaning of the sentences. 「不是.应该.以小组.做讨论.吗?」is a rhetorical question meaning 'I thought we should'. Similarly, 「不是.要求.以小组.为单位.做报告.吗? 」means 'I thought we've been asked to do this'. This is a new issue altogether. Maybe you could post a new question on this can so that we can have our discussion over there. – Sati Sep 9 '17 at 9:18
  • You do demonstrate some difference between 应该 and 要求 in some degree, which is 'should' and 'asked' respectively. And 要求 is not just a 'asked' though. – dan Sep 9 '17 at 9:33
1

IMO, when 以...为... is used as a verb phrase, it should be translated to "using/taking A as B". For example, 他们以胖为美。== They take fat as beauty.

When it is used as a prepositional phrase, we could use the prepositional word by to interpret.

For example, 以小时为单位 could be simply translated to "by the hour". We are paid by the hour. == 我们以小时(为单位)计费。为单位 could be omitted in this case.

Apparently, in this context, it's a prepositional phrase. So,

不是要求以小组为单位做报告吗?

one possible translation:

Isn't the demand/request to do the reporting by group?

Here 以小组为单位 could be interpreted as "by group".

  • "in small groups", as seen in Sati's answer. (I'm not a native speaker of English, though) – Philipp Sep 9 '17 at 6:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.