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    #1

    Smile Now what have we here?

    I'm reading the novel"A Christmas Carol" .
    "Now what have we here?"said old Joe,opening the woman's bandle.
    (woman were going to sell bandle to old Joe).
    I can't understand the sentence"Now what have we here?"
    Please tell me the meaning of this sentence.

  1. Ouisch's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Now what have we here?

    "Now what have we here?" is usually a rhetorical question - the person asking it sees the items in question and may well know what they are, but he is asking the owner of the goods to describe them.

    In this case, the woman has a bundle (not "bandle") of goods for sale. At a glance, Joe can determine a few of the items contained in the bundle, but for a more thorough description he needs the woman's help. "What have we here?" is his way of asking her to detail each item in her bundle that is for sale.

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    #3

    Re: Now what have we here?

    I could assume that if we put an auxiliary verb here it might be easier to understand for you.

    Now, what do we have here?

    "Have" can be used with/without an auxiliary verb.

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    #4

    Re: Now what have we here?

    Ouisch,Kotfor,I can understand this phrase.Thnank you very much.

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    #5

    Re: Now what have we here?

    Take care here for a complete understanding of the sense. Ouisch is right to say this is a rhetorical question, but that actually means that an answer is not expected.

    If Joe had wanted an answer as to what was in the bundle, he would have said 'What do you have in there?'

    The reason for the rhetorical question is that he either knows what is in the bundle or we are all going to find out pretty soon as he goes through it. A sense of drama and tension is thereby created.

    A customs officer would probably ask this as he opened a passenger's bag and found himself looking at a number of plastic bags full of white powder!

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    #6

    Re: Now what have we here?

    Thank you for supplementation. I understandthe difference between"what have we here?" and "what do you have in there?"
    Your example is very easy to understand.

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