Quick answer
"Happens" is a form of "happen", an intransitive verb which is often translated as "suceder". "What happens" is a phrase which is often translated as "qué pasa". Learn more about the difference between "what happens" and "happens" below.
what happens
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
1. (in a question)
a. qué pasa
What happens if I forget my key? - There is an extra key under the mat.¿Qué pasa si se me olvida mi llave? - Hay una extra debajo del tapete.
b. qué ocurre
What happens to all of the cookies that customers don't buy?¿Qué ocurre con todas las galletas que los clientes no compran?
c. qué sucede
What happens if your flight gets delayed?¿Qué sucede si tu vuelo se retrasa?
2. (things that happen)
a. lo que pasa
This is what happens when people stop being polite.Esto es lo que pasa cuando la gente deja de ser cortés.
b. lo que ocurre
This is what happens when you eat poorly. You get sick.Esto es lo que ocurre cuando comes mal. Te enfermas.
c. lo que sucede
I don't know what happens at that nightclub, and I don't want to know.No sé lo que sucede en ese club nocturno, y no quiero saberlo.
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An intransitive verb is one that does not require a direct object (e.g. The man sneezed.).
1. (to take place)
a. suceder
Everything happened too fast. Todo sucedió demasiado rápido.
b. ocurrir
I can't believe what just happened.No puedo creer lo que acaba de ocurrir.
c. pasar
Everything bad happens to me!¡Todo lo malo me pasa a mí!
2. (to occur by chance)
a. de casualidad (adverb)
If you happen to come by the office, we could get a coffee.Si de casualidad te pasas por la oficina, podemos tomar un café.
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