I can't see what 会 is doing in this sentence. Maybe nothing, could it just be omitted??


Which I would translate as: 'Back then, why did you change your profession?'


3 Answers 3


会 here simply means "would"

"当初为什转行呢?" = "Why did you change job back then?"

"当初为什么转行呢?" = "Why would you change job back then?"

more example:

"你為何同意?" = "Why do you agree?"

"你為何同意?" = "Why would you agree?"

Yes, you can omit it, However "would" in the sentence does emphasize an inquisitive tone. Imply "you should not had."

  • confirming answer, cf. "实用现代汉语语法"第二编 词类 第四章 动词 第六节 能愿动词 (十五)会 2。表示可以实现,已然、未然的情况都可以用。例如:(1)在建设社会主义社会的道路上,一定会遇到许许多多的困难。(2)明天早晨我会把准确的数字拿出来。(3)我真没想到你今天会来。(4)过去,我是不会同意这样做的。
    – user6065
    Aug 28, 2016 at 0:48
  • I know English is not your language, so I don't mean this too critically, just for your info, but nobody English would (subjunctive) write that sentence with 'would' since it is not subjunctive, being a past event (back then) and also not amenable to the use of 'would' as the past tense of 'will'. That sentence needs 'did' in English. I've never seen '会‘ as 'did', but there are a lot of things I don't know!
    – Gangosa
    Aug 28, 2016 at 4:38
  • 1
    @Gangosa, I noticed there's a problem writing " Why would you change job back then?" the sentence being in past tense, people might interpret would' as the past tense of 'will. Writing "Why did you change job back then?" is better, but "did" cannot be translated back to "会". There have to be a better way to express " For what reason, you changed job back then?"
    – Tang Ho
    Aug 28, 2016 at 6:11
  • 1
    @Gangosa: I think, colloquially, one quite often hears an exchange such as the following: "Yeah, after work I went straight home and completely missed the social." "What?! Why on earth would you do that?" even though it isn't at all counterfactual and the more standard response would have been "Why on earth did you do that?" The variant form essentially turns time back to the point just before the decision to go home was made. The difference in Chinese may be that this construction (with 會) is somewhat more standard than it is in English.
    – Brian Tung
    Aug 31, 2016 at 22:57
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    Also, a sentence such as 怎麼會這樣呢? could be translated as "How could things turn out this way?" There's a sense of potentiality that is simply translated in several different ways in English depending on the context. I feel as though in the OP's question, there's a sense of "Why did you even consider changing your job back then?" but I think actually translating it that way makes too much of that.
    – Brian Tung
    Aug 31, 2016 at 23:01

“会”,it can mean "meeting". For example, "我在开会” I'm having a meeting. it can also mean "a modal particles". for example, "你怎么会转行呢?" why did you change your profession? "你怎么转行呢?"why did you change you profession? the later sentences be lack of euphemism tone!


It can be omitted. Check this: Why did you change your profession? Why did you choose to change your profession? Not much difference, right? This doesnt mean that 会 is equal to 'choose to'.

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