“What's the special occasion?”

English Lesson: What's the special occasion?

Your husband brought you flowers. He doesn't usually do that except on your birthday or anniversary. You ask why he brought them.

What's the special occasion?

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What’s the special occasion?

When someone does something that’s unusual and nicer than normal, you may ask:

What’s the special occasion?

For example, you can ask this if:

  • someone is dressed better than normal

  • a room is decorated as if for a party

  • a friend is being unusually generous

The expression “What’s the special occasion?” is very well-known among English speakers. For this reason, people sometimes simply ask:

What’s the occasion?

...which means the same thing.

Special occasion

A “special occasion” simply means an important day or event. Special occasions can include birthdays, graduations, weddings, and more.

Use “special occasion” like this:

I only wear a suit for special occasions.

If your sister gives you a nice bottle of champagne for your birthday, you might say:

I’m saving this for a special occasion!