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For context, I’m reading Haikyuu!! and I'm stuck on this sentence:

コート中央のネットを挟んで2チームでボールを打ち合う。

The verb 挟む is in the て form, but I can’t understand why, so I don’t get the sentence. Is it connecting actions with an “and” or is there a use of the て form here I'm not getting?

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    How do you understand the verb 挟む in this sentence?
    – aguijonazo
    Jan 25 at 0:30
  • As @aguijonazo notes, it would help us to formulate a better answer if you could supply us with your best guess at translating / explicating the meaning of this sentence. Jan 25 at 1:37
  • It's simply connecting two actions like an "and", so I don't understand why you don't understand the sentence. You've probably got something wrong at the other part of the sentence. Please try to explain everything you've got so far about this sentence.
    – naruto
    Jan 25 at 1:54
  • I guess I don’t really understand the meaning of 挟む, because I don’t get what the subject of the sentence is. Is it “the net on the center of the court is inserted/is between two things/is across”? Or something like the net crosses the center of the court? The grammar is tripping me up
    – Bel
    Jan 25 at 3:17
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    You can understand the subject to be unspecified "people."
    – aguijonazo
    Jan 25 at 4:14

1 Answer 1

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The te-form by itself is just "and" or "by". Xを挟む basically means "to put X between two things" or "to sandwich X", and here "two things" refers to the two teams of a volleyball game. The 5th definition of 挟む in jisho is specifically about this usage:

挟む

  1. to be on either side of (a road, table, etc.); to have between each other; to be across (a street, river, etc.)​

彼らはテーブルをはさんで向かい合った。They confronted each other across the table.

Therefore:

コート中央のネットを挟んで...

(facing each other) across the net in the center of a court (and) ...

This 2チームで is an adverbial expression meaning something like "on a two-team basis". See this, too. English has a word that corresponds to 1人で ("alone"), but somehow lacks expressions that correspond to 2人で, 5人で, 2チームで and so on. So a very literal translation would be "(People) sandwich the net in the center of a court, and (then) mutually hit a ball on a two-team basis".

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  • Oh, I see! I read on Tofugu that で could be used to specify groups of people so I had a feeling that’s what it was. Thank you so much for your reply!
    – Bel
    Jan 25 at 15:11

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