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I understand that the overall meaning is "the titular superhero has been overshadowed by the myriad of powerful villains he has fought against," but I don't see the purpose off adding that "所衬托的," and trying to translate that/see its function here in the sentence is driving me crazy.

I know that the meaning of 衬托 is to set off or serve as a foil to. This makes me think that it serves to modify the "fought against" or "对抗" part of the sentence, but I just am not sure, and do not know how to integrate 衬托 into the English translation specifically.

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    It is actually a wrong sentence, or a 病句(sick sentence) in Chinese.
    – T-Pioneer
    Apr 23, 2022 at 8:45

2 Answers 2

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This sentence has a lot of problems

  1. 所 in 所衬托的 is not needed

  2. 的/dé/ in 衬托的 should be replaced with 得/dé/

(another case of 的/dé/, 得/dé/, 地/dé/ confusion)

  1. 衬托(to set off) is the wrong choice of word for " contrast". It should be 对比 (compare/ contrast)

这位有名无实的超级英雄

[]他所对抗的各路神通广大的反面角色[对比得]黯然失色

[be]......[contrasted] pale in comparsion

Something that was being 衬托 (set off) is always shown in a positive way

  • in this case, the so-call superhero is overshadowed by his powerful enemies = 被比较下来 (been compared down)

Also, 反派角色 is better than 反面角色 here

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  • Thank you. I was driving myself crazy trying to find out what that "的" was modifying in this sentence. Turns out it was just wrong. That's a bit worrysome, considering I got the sentence from zaojv.com, which I assumed to be a reliable site for practicing sentence reading.
    – AndrewO
    Apr 23, 2022 at 0:02
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    There is a discussion on 的 pronounced as "di" rather then "de" in its spoken form. chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/318/… Apr 23, 2022 at 3:13
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Sympathy for superheroes!

I agree with Tang Ho, 友 should be 反 and you don't want 所衬托, just 衬托.

As for 的 or 得 or 地, Becky asked about this somewhere here (I'm useless at finding old threads). Someone answered:

Prior to the 1950s, many Chinese writers made no distinction between 的、地 or 得

That may have led to the contentious 的。

这位有名无实的超级英雄
This insubstantial superhero
被他的所对抗的各路神通广大的反面角色衬托得黯然失色。
was eclipsed by all of his opponents, each of whom possessed superior powers.

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