is what happens or what happen?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by rafaelgan, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. rafaelgan Senior Member

    U.S.A
    Spanish
    well my question is which one is the correct, what happens or what happen,.... also i want to know mmm, is what's happen or whats happens.

    so, i got two question.
     
  2. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    Welcome to the forum, rafaelgan!

    It depends on the context. Please give us a few sample sentences. Try using the phrases and we'll help you out. :)
     
  3. rafaelgan Senior Member

    U.S.A
    Spanish
    well, i am not sure, can you make the difference, or sentences?
     
  4. RocketGirl

    RocketGirl Senior Member

    Australia
    Canada, English
    what happen:cross:
    what happens:tick:
    what's happen:cross:
    whats happens:cross:
     
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    What happened?
    What's happening?
    These are complete sentences.

    What happens ... ... ... ?
    What will happen ... ... ... ?
    These need something added to complete the sentence, for example:
    What happens if I push this button?
    What will happen if I pull that lever?
     
  6. rafaelgan Senior Member

    U.S.A
    Spanish
    so if i use what's i cant use happen or happens , just the word happening,

    am i right?
     
  7. mike83 Junior Member

    italian - Italy
    or maybe
    "what's happened?" as the contraction of "what has happened?"
     
  8. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    Either way - please use proper punctuation - capital letters to start sentences and for "I" and a full stop to end.

    Thank you, Timpeac (moderator).
     
  9. sunyaer Senior Member

    Chinese
    When a bang noise from somewhere is heard in a room with a few people inside, what would be said to ask:

    “What happened?”

    “What’s happened?”

    “What is happening?”
     
  10. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I wouldn't normally use "happened" in that context. I would say "What was that?" If something carries on for a while, such as the room shaking from an earthquake, someone unfamiliar with the experience might say "What is happening?"

    "What happened?" by itself is usually reserved for a meaning similar to "what was the result?" or "what was the cause?"

    A: Well, I guess I won't be going to football practice anymore.
    B: Why? What happened? (What is the reason/cause?)


    A: I talked with Ashley last night.
    B: What happened? (What was the result?)
     
  11. sunyaer Senior Member

    Chinese
    If the context is modified a bit like this:

    Lights all went out suddenly in a room with a few people inside including you, would you say "what happened"?
     
  12. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I suppose so. To me, "what happened" is something you ask of someone who knows the answer. So, let's say you were inside the house and someone was flipping circuit breakers to see which rooms were connected to that circuit, the person outside the house could yell to you "What happened?" You would respond "the lights in the living room went out."

    To express surprise or confusion, even when no one else may know any more than you do, I think it's more likely to say "What's going on?" or "What was that?" or "What's happening?", not "What happened?"
     
  13. sunyaer Senior Member

    Chinese
    So if my mom is washing dishes and I hear a breaking noise coming out of the kitchen to the living room where I am watching TV, I might suppose that she just broke a plate, and of course I am assuming she knows the answer, would I say:

    “What happened?”
     
  14. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    Absolutely. It fits perfectly in that context, in my opinion. "What is happening?" would not, in that case, unless you hear a series of noises.
     
  15. Maya rtdc77 New Member

    English-Ireland
    "I think it is unfair what happens with ...or what is happening?"
     

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