Translation:What to do?
Just to throw my two cents into the pot: I have heard this expression in English many times. I am a native English speaker, born and raised in Ontario, Canada. Further, I agree with all those who have pointed out that just because one individual may not have heard an expression does not mean that it "would never be used in English". I am reminded of times playing Scrabble, when one player constructs a word on the board, and others protest that it "is not a word", because they have never heard it. But when they consult a dictionary, it is in fact a word.
Yes, and here in the UK we also have the (slightly old fashioned) idiom "What a to do! (What a fuss/commotion)". I was wondering if I had ever heard anyone say "What to do?" Then I remembered Howard from The Big Bang saying "What to do? What to do? What to do with you?" If you know the character you can probably guess the (female) response that he got...
"What to do" is something English speakers are familiar with, and many have said. This is mostly used as a reflection to oneself when trying to decide what to do next, or perhaps reflecting on how to proceed.
Example: I have made a day of cleaning and cooking in preparation for my daughters birthday. As I set the table, I glance again at the calender, only to realize I've prepared for the function on the wrong day. Oh no! I say, and only to myself, "What to do, what to do! (I would say this with a roll of the eyes, a sigh and no matter who was listening!)
I hope this helps.
I guess my real point here is , would a Spanish speaker say this? If the answer is yes, then it should be here. We should be learning expressions that are widely used by Spanish speakers but the translations given in English should reflect what would be widely said in the same circumstances by English speakers. I certainly recognise what you say, but it doesn't sound like English as I speak it. Even to myself in the same circumstances I would more naturally be saying/thinking 'What should I do/what can we do', or, perhaps 'what to do now'. That is why I suggest the translation Duolingo offers is best recognised as regional...and a wider range of translations should be accepted.
This is not a turn of phrase that I'm familiar with. After reading the comments here, I see that others are, both in English and Spanish, albeit through sporadic local usage. However, it is also a phrase that some people don't use commonly in Spanish, so I can console myself with knowing I got it wrong, yet I don't actually have to use it when speaking Spanish. If I typically say, "What can I do?" it will be understood.
I typed in "To do what?" and it wasn't accepted. It would be nice if there was context... if one guy says "they want to party" then another guy might ask "to do what?" and I would think that "¿Qué hacer?" is the translation. If this is not another possibility, can someone explain what "what to do?" is better?
This is not a widely accepted way to express oneself in English. Yes, it can be said, and yes, in some parts of the English speaking world it might even be common, but it would be regional/colloquial and/or contextual. Would a native Spanish speaker please clarify if this means something like the impersonal 'what do we do?...or 'what should we do'. And, is this a common Spanish expression?