1

这是最基本的常识,你怎么会不知道呢?

My translation: This is the most common sense but why you don't know it?

Translating directly the original sentence then the 2nd part of the sentence can be translated into "Why you won't know it?"

Is this translation correct? I've never heard of the phrase "Why you won't know it?" in English.

3 Answers 3

0

In English, why and how were never clearly separated:

how come: why
why: wherefore
wherefore: what cause or reason
how: what cause or reason

Think of Romeo and Juliet: "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" (He was a Montague, Juliet a Capulet)

I would just take 会 as can here.

这是最基本的常识,
This is basic common sense,
你怎么会不知道呢?
how can you not know that?

4
  • I will use "how come" in place of "how can".
    – r13
    Jun 24, 2023 at 11:54
  • No, don't do that! how come = why
    – Pedroski
    Jun 24, 2023 at 14:54
  • Per Dict.com, "how come" = [口語]何以会 ... ; 为什么? "how can" = 怎可,哪能. Differences are not great.
    – r13
    Jun 24, 2023 at 17:38
  • Native (British) English speaker here: I agree with @Pedroski. "How come you not know that" isn't idiomatic, and feels very wrong to me. However "How come you don't know that" is fine; but it's informal speech - not advisable for students of English perhaps. "How can you not know that" is a good simple translation of 你怎么会不知道呢?, IMO. Jul 5, 2023 at 12:56
1

I think there's a comparable difference in English between:

How do you not know? (你怎么不知道呢?) vs.
How could you not know [sth.]? (你怎么不知道呢?)

It emphasizes the speaker's surprise, and comes off more as a rhetorical question: how is it possible that 你 doesn't know [sth.].

I asked Sage, and it came up with related 怎么会 examples:

怎么会下雨? (How could it be raining?)
怎么会这么热啊? (How could it be this hot?)
怎么会有人不喜欢吃巧克力呢? (How could there be people who don't like chocolate?)
他怎么会突然辞职? (How could he suddenly resign?)

Like in the original example, it is possible to delete the 会 in all these examples to obtain grammatical sentences (although I think it'd be more common to add a particle in the first sentence, like 怎么下雨了?).

2
  • "It is possible to delete the 会 in all these examples." I think this contradicts the statement and examples given in the opening.
    – r13
    Jul 5, 2023 at 4:38
  • It looks like I was unclear there; I just mean they're grammatical, with or without the 会.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Jul 5, 2023 at 6:07
1

怎么 - how (can)

- can/be able to/be possible

  • A. 你怎么不知道呢? - How can/could you possibly not know?

  • B. 你怎么不知道呢? - How can/could you not know?

With ridicule in mind, sentence B is milder than sentence A.

Note that the phrase "怎么会" can be translated as "How come" (as to ask why something has happened or is true), which is usually used in casual speech in the US.

11
  • "How come you are not knowing?" is not idiomatic English. See my comment for Pederowski's answer. Jul 5, 2023 at 13:58
  • @goPlayerJuggler Thanks, revision made.
    – r13
    Jul 5, 2023 at 15:34
  • @goPlayerJuggler Please review the linked article/webpage and let me know your thought. Thanks. 1. dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/how-come 2. bing.com/…
    – r13
    Jul 5, 2023 at 16:01
  • I looked at the links; I'm not sure what point you want to make, or why you wanted me to look at them. I suspect that you disagree with me, our doubt me, when I say that sentence is not idiomatic. I think there may well be a misunderstanding. I think the problem with this sentence "how come you are not knowing" is in the "you are not knowing" part, not in the "how come" part. Your comments? // By the way, something I find interesting about "how come" is its usage - it feels slightly like its more American / Australian than British. Even though it's probably used in the British Isles too. Jul 6, 2023 at 7:57
  • @goPlayerJuggler I've made my point in my final edit.
    – r13
    Jul 6, 2023 at 13:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.