In making an inquiry which of the below should be used to properly format question.

"Which is correct and preferred: what happen or what happened?"

closed as off-topic by Chenmunka, Dog Lover, tchrist, Lawrence, Hellion Aug 1 '16 at 21:51

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Bernadette, you might get more responses in future if you detail what you have done to answer your question yourself / research an answer already. I have answered below anyway, but as a rule you attract the assistance of more people if you follow these guidelines here. Have a great day! – Gary Aug 1 '16 at 12:39
  • They have different tempus, but "what happened" (imperfect) is correct while "what happen" (presens) isn't. The reason "what happen" is incorrect is that the subject is 3rd person singular which requires an "s" on the verb. Correct presens form would be "what happens". – skyking Feb 13 '17 at 8:05

"What happened?" is correct here.

If your question refers to the whole sentence

"Which is correct and preferred: what happen or what happened?"

then I would rephrase it as

Which is correct: "what happen" or "what happened"?


If you are asking about the details of a past event, that should be

"what happened"

See here (for details of how to conjugate the verb happen)

If instead you want to know about some future event you could use 'happen'.


What will happen tomorrow?

What happened yesterday?

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