In this post, you will learn the difference between “suppose” and “supposed to.”
Although these two forms of the verb “suppose” might look similar, their uses are completely different.
Understanding their difference and using them properly will help you communicate better.
Let’s dive into the difference between “suppose” and “supposed to.”
Some of the concepts has been taken from BBC Learning English Channel. Their channel offers a variety of videos about vocabulary, culture, and more.
You can use “suppose” instead of think, believe, expect, or imagine.
Use “suppose” when you are not 100% certain of the information you are about to give.
“I suppose Johnny wanted to help.”
This sentence means, “I think Johnny wanted to help, but I'm not 100% sure.”
You can also use “suppose” to ask a negative question – in hopes of getting a positive answer.
“I don’t suppose you could give me a ride, could you?”
This means, “I think you might not able to give me a ride… but could you?”
“Suppose” as an Answer
“Suppose” is also great for short answers. You can use “I suppose so” for an affirmative answer.
“Will you go to the party tonight?”
“I suppose so.”
This means, “Yes” but in a light-hearted way.
For a negative answer you could use “I suppose not” or “I don’t suppose so.”
Question with “Suppose”
“Suppose we go shopping today, would you like it?”
This means, “If we go shopping today, would you like it?”
You can start a question with “suppose” or “supposing” to mean, “if” or “what if.”
With these many uses, “suppose” is a handy verb you can express many things with. You will hear this verb very often, so knowing its meaning can help you better understand native speakers!
Believe it or not, “supposed to” has a completely different use and structure!
You will always need the verb “to be” to form phrases with “supposed to.”
Remember to always use “to be + supposed to + infinitive.”
“You are supposed to practice English every day.”
This means, “You should be practicing English every day.”
Regarding its use, “supposed to” expresses something that should be done because it is a rule or a custom.
“I am supposed to make my bed after waking up, but I never do it.”
This means, “I should be making my bed after waking up, because it's regarded as a normal custom, but I never do it.”
Suppose to = Should
Even if something is not a rule or a custom, you can use “supposed to” to mean “should” with an emphasis on things not having done yet.
“Aren’t you supposed to be studying right now?”
You can also use “Supposed to” to express the people’s general belief or thought.
“This English book is supposed to be one of the best. Give it a try!”
This means, “I heard everyone saying that this is one of the best books, so it must be good. Try it!”
Similarly to this use, you can introduce an opinion regarding something.
“The new Avengers movie is supposed to be awesome. Would you like to go watch it?”
Pronunciation tip: in oral English, the “d” in “supposed” is not pronounced, as the sound combines with the “t” of “to.” But don’t forget to use it in writing!
So, now you have learned the difference between “suppose” and “supposed to.” Next time you listen to any of them, you will be able to spot the difference!
Thanks to BBC English Learning Channel for the amazing content. To continue improving, be sure to visit their Youtube Channel for more videos.
I suppose I will see you next time!
Contributed by Juan Pedro