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Bad news vs What’s the bad news

bad news—(U.S. coll.) said of things, people, or places that are unpleasant or undesirable:

  • Milly these days was plain bad news. Her fascination had evaporated.

what’s the bad news—(U.S. joc.) what do I owe:

  • After the clerk had run up all of the clothing Meg had selected, her mother nervously asked what the bad news was.