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In this dialogue:

A: 昨天他开车的时候,头撞了一下。

B: 怎么一回事?

Why is the classifier 回 used instead of 件?

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i think the whole sentence will sound more smooth to add 儿 at the end...otherwise it's pretty hard to say even for a native chinese :) – Laguna Jan 19 '12 at 18:00
up vote 4 down vote accepted

There are only a few phrases made up from 回事:

怎么(一)回事: what the matter with ..., why ..., what is the reason for ..., what happened

这回事: The matter you just mentioned (E.g 没这回事。 There was no such thing)

一回事: The same. (E.g. A和B是一回事。 A and B are the same (matter).)

In the above situations, "件" cannot be used.

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This may not be very precise ... – fefe Jan 19 '12 at 2:22
+1 and Chinese doesn't need to be very precise. – coolcfan Jan 19 '12 at 3:36

Normally, a "piece" of business, 事, is represented by 一件事. This could represent a contract, deal, or whatever.

But in this case, the "business" is a car accident, i.e. an action. 件 doesn't work as a modifier in this instance. You need an "action" modifier like 回, which roughly means "to come and go."

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I doubt it. “昨天他开车的时候,头撞了一下。这(件)事不要告诉老王。” Here you can omit "件", but you cannot use "回". – fefe Jan 19 '12 at 21:18

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