How to use “Supposed to” correctly?

Using “suppose to” instead of “supposed to” is one of the many common mistakes that you can easily avoid if you know the proper usage of these terms.

Milena Lazova
Milena Lazova

“Should I use supposed to or suppose?” — is a common question of many English learners, but they have every right to be confused about it. That’s because these two terms are different forms of the same word “suppose,” hence the “suppose vs. supposed to” confusion.

Using “suppose to” instead of “supposed to” is one of the many common mistakes that you can easily avoid if you know the proper usage of these terms.

“Supposed to” — meaning and usage

“Supposed to” is a part of the phrase “to be supposed to” which functions as a modal verb. This means that it adds meaning to another main verb in the sentence, usually expressing obligation, or when something is required or expected.

Here are all the uses of “supposed to”:

·         When something or someone is expected to do something:

She is supposed to come this evening.

·         When someone or something is expected or intended to be something:

The wedding was supposed to be today.

·         When someone is offended or angry about something:

What did you just say? What’s that supposed to mean?

·         When someone should do something:

He is supposed to clean his mess before leaving the place.

·         When someone is (not) allowed to do something:

She was not supposed to be here.

·         When you want to say what people say about something or someone:

That type of wood is supposed to be the best for furniture.

“To suppose” — meaning and usage

Unlike “supposed to” which is a modal or auxiliary verb, “to suppose” is one of the main verbs in the sentence. We use it:

·         When presuming that something is real or true for the sake of explanation or argument:

Suppose you travel back in time, what would you do differently?
I suppose I could buy that if I had to.

·         When presuming that something is the case based on probability but without proof:

I suppose she could be telling the truth, but I haven’t seen it.

“Suppose to” or “Supposed to”

The main verb “suppose” is never followed by “to,” only the phrase used as an auxiliary or modal verb — “supposed to.”

Video examples:

The Avengers (2012)
Ghost World (2001)
EnglishWhich is correct

Milena Lazova

I'm an ESL teacher with over 7 years of experience in providing original content. I really like writing educational articles which may help others learn some aspects of English.


Cecilia Gigliotti

I have extensive experience writing in a variety of genres, from literary novels to music reviews to academic articles. I appreciate the power of words.

Milena Lazova

I'm an ESL teacher with over 7 years of experience in providing original content. I really like writing educational articles which may help others learn some aspects of English.

Geoffrey Mutie

My name is Geoffrey! I am constantly looking for new ways to improve my writing skills and my interpersonal skills, which in my opinion help a person be professional.