Paul and Angela leapt out of bed.
“Oh, no! We’re going to be late!” shouted Angela, “It’s already 12 o’clock, and the wedding starts at 1. I told you to set the alarm an hour earlier!”
They raced to the car, and Angela hit the gas.
Unfortunately as they turned into Brunswick Street, all they could see were hundreds of cars and trams lining up behind each other, as far as the eye could see. A massive traffic jam.
“Oh, there must’ve been an accident up ahead, Paul. Now we’re stuck!”
“I can’t believe this, not now, not today!” Paul cried.
His girlfriend took her hands off the wheel, looked over towards him, and sighed:
“So what do we do now?!”
When To Use This Phrase
This phrase is used in spoken English when we’re not sure what to do next, when things haven’t worked out as planned.
Here are a few more examples:
- Say you’ve been waiting in a queue to buy tickets to a film, and finally you reach the counter and the assistant tells you they’ve just sold out.
- You run for the bus, only to miss it, and the next one will be along in a hour.
- You plan a nice night out for your partner and then they cancel on you at the last minute.
In these situations you might feel angry, annoyed, disappointed, surprised or upset.
When you say “So what do I/we do now?” it might be a genuine question for someone to answer, or it could be an exclamation.
You might also hear: “So now what?!”
In situations like these, especially in Australia and Great Britain, you might hear some sarcastic comments such as:
“Oh, this is just perfect, this is.”
Have you ever had a moment when you could have used this phrase..?
How To Respond?
If your friend is upset and disappointed, you might want to reassure them or come up with another idea:
“Not to worry, we can always go and get a drink somewhere..”
“Hey don’t worry about it..”
“I know you were really looking forward to this, but we can…”
In the case of Paul and Angela who are rushing to get to a wedding, they don’t have time to talk much:
“I know what! Let’s run to Smith Street and hail a cab!”
‘So’ At The Start Of The Phrase
You can say “What do we do now?” but using so is a common feature of spoken English:
“So how was your day?”
“So how was the match?”
“So did you have a fun time at the park?”
Hit the gas – to drive very quickly
As far as the eye can/could see – a very long distance
He cancelled on her at the last minute – you can cancel on someone