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Unless we were talking about “suppose" and "supposed” without the “to be” as an extension, then there could be a valid point to argue upon.

But since we are discussing whether it should be “suppose to or supposed to,” then know that there’s no such thing as “suppose to” in the English language. Therefore, “supposed to” is the correct spelling. Keep going to learn how you could use it in your conversations.

How to use “supposed to” in your conversations

We use the phrase “supposed to” in many ways. And one way is when you expect someone (or something) to do something.


She is supposed to arrive by noon.
The venue was supposed to attract a lot of visitors so we could earn more money, but it just didn’t.

Another way is when you want to say what someone should be doing or when referring to what someone is allowed to do.


She is supposed to dive into this kind of situation.
You were not supposed to go without my approval.

There are also other times when we use “supposed to” to show what others are saying about something (or someone).


Is it supposed to be raining during this time of the year?
Brian finished in third place, but isn’t he supposed to be the best rider in the province?

What’s the issue with suppose vs. supposed?

What makes the issue between these two confusing verbs even more complicated are the vast use cases and meanings each of them has. But just when do we use suppose or supposed correctly? Let’s find out below.

When to use the verb “suppose” correctly

We can use “suppose” in several ways, one of which is to assume that something is true. We can also use it to mean “to be required to realize something due to the arguments we make.”

In this regard, we use it as a hesitant response to a question regarding our intentions. If, for instance, I were to ask if you were going to attend an upcoming event, you could respond by just saying, “I suppose so.”

Here’s how you could use the word “suppose” correctly:

I am not so sure, but I suppose Mike is on leave because he hasn’t come to work since last week.
Hey Mike, I suppose a firm handshake is out of the question?

The first example seems like someone is trying to argue about an absent work colleague. So, for the sake of argument, since he’s not sure about it, he uses the verb “suppose” to support his statement.

Meanwhile, from the second example, it looks like Mike is visiting someone who knows that Mike isn’t there to make new friends and won’t be greeting him by shaking hands.

Perhaps Mike and the other guy, let’s call him Ted, go way back. But there’s a reason why Ted thinks that Mike isn’t going to be greeting him by shaking hands. And realizing that, Ted goes ahead and starts the conversation the way he did. See the second example above.

When to use “supposed to”

They say learning a new language is fun with examples. With that said, let’s look at the following two examples to understand when or how to use the phrase “supposed to” when constructing a sentence.


We are supposed to dive when we see a boat.
The students were supposed to arrive at 11:00 am, but they showed up late because of the unusual traffic.

The speaker in the first example is trying to explain that they, the divers, were required to dive when a boat showed up. But it looks like they didn’t dive after all.

Meanwhile, in the second example, we understand that although the students were expected to arrive early, they arrived late due to an unusual traffic situation on their way to school.

Wrapping up

The use of the verbs “suppose” or “supposed” is very different, although oftentimes people confuse them. However, the confusion may be less effective when talking than when writing.

But keep in mind that you risk being totally misunderstood when you pick the wrong verb for your conversations. Also, remember that there’s a lot more to these verbs than what we have explored today, so keep learning.

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