China feels increasingly under siege as..., as...

LQZ

Senior Member
Mandarin
“China feels increasingly under siege as it becomes an international economic power, as others try to contain it,” Mr. Jiang said. “They don’t want to appear to be weak, because domestic pressure is mounting.” ---taken from the NYT
Dear all,

I have trouble with two as(s). I read them as "when" and "when" in order. Could you please tell me if my understanding is correct? Thanks.


LQZ
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hello, LQZ. The crucial difference between "as" and "when" here is that "as" describes an indefinite length of time. "When" here would make us think of a point in time. Here are a few examples of this use of "as":

    As I age, I grow less certain about things. "When" wouldn't work here. "As" means something special: "during my aging" or "along with my aging". The time it refers to is long and indefinite.

    As we learn more about the process, we'll get better at making predictions.

    As the planet's climate gets warmer, the sea level is expected to rise all around the world.
     

    LQZ

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Hello, LQZ. The crucial difference between "as" and "when" here is that "as" describes an indefinite length of time. "When" here would make us think of a point in time. Here are a few examples of this use of "as":

    As I age, I grow less certain about things. "When" wouldn't work here. "As" means something special: "during my aging" or "along with my aging". The time it refers to is long and indefinite.

    As we learn more about the process, we'll get better at making predictions.

    As the planet's climate gets warmer, the sea level is expected to rise all around the world.
    Thank you, owlman. Your response really helps since I thought as and when were interchangeablem. :eek:

    But could you please tell me whether the two as clauses in question are equivalent to adverbial clause of time?
     

    LilithE

    Member
    Croatian
    I read it more as a consequence. Let me rephrase it : China becomes an international economic power and in the same time others try to contain it. As a result of those precesses, China feels increasingly under siege.

    But I could be wrong :)
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    You are right, LQZ. These clauses beginning with "as" are adverbial time clauses. They serve to coordinate one event with another over a length of time:

    As the field workers harvested the beans, the truck drivers began loading their trucks with produce.

    In this use, "as" and "while" are generally good substitutes: While the field workers harvested (were harvesting) the beans, the truck drivers...
     

    LQZ

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    You are right, LQZ. These clauses beginning with "as" are adverbial time clauses. They serve to coordinate one event with another over a length of time:

    As the field workers harvested the beans, the truck drivers began loading their trucks with produce.

    In this use, "as" and "while" are generally good substitutes: While the field workers harvested (were harvesting) the beans, the truck drivers...
    Thank you very much, owlman. :)
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    As the field workers harvested the beans, the truck drivers began loading their trucks with produce.

    In this use, "as" and "while" are generally good substitutes: While the field workers harvested (were harvesting) the beans, the truck drivers...
    If by "produce" you mean the beans, I'd use only "as". "While" suggests two independent actions happening at the same time; "as" gives more the idea of related actions (the beans couldn't be loaded until they were harvested).
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    If by "produce" you mean the beans, I'd use only "as". "While" suggests two independent actions happening at the same time; "as" gives more the idea of related actions (the beans couldn't be loaded until they were harvested).
    This is an interesting point, Einstein. I had pictured many sacks of beans already harvested and waiting to be loaded as the field hands harvested more. I agree that "while" emphasizes two independent actions here a little more than does "as".
     

    LilithE

    Member
    Croatian
    I just don't think 'as' is used in the same manner in the last part of the sentence. The second 'as' ( ..., as others try to contain it ) looks more like:

    conj. under 4.For the reason that; because: went to bed early, as I was exhausted.

    http://www.answers.com/topic/as
    The first 'as' expresses simultaneousness but I just can't make myself to read the second one in the same way. If I am wrong, please explain me what I am reading the wrong way.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hello, Lilith. Here's the sentence in question: “China feels increasingly under siege as it becomes an international economic power, as others try to contain it,”

    Now, you read the second "as" to mean "because". That interpretation is certainly possible; however, I think it's more likely that the writer was using both "as" clauses to express time. You could easily drop one of the two "AS's":

    China feels increasingly under siege as (during the time in which) it becomes an international power and others try to contain it.


     

    LilithE

    Member
    Croatian
    Possible but I am concentrated more at the meaning of the whole sentence. I consider the part after a comma as the explanation of the first 2 statements. I mean ... If others didn't try to contain it, there would have been no reason for China to feel under siege during the process of becoming an international economic power.
     

    LQZ

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Possible but I am concentrated more at the meaning of the whole sentence. I consider the part after a comma as the explanation of the first 2 statements. I mean ... If others didn't try to contain it, there would have been no reason for China to feel under siege during the process of becoming an international economic power.
    Interesting point. I think of as as one of the trickiest words in English. :)
     
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