“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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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.
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!