Supposed to

Use ‘supposed to’ to describe intentions or predictions that were not fulfilled





"Supposed to" in English describes intentions or predictions that were not fulfilled. This expression is key for talking about things that were intended or expected to happen but did not occur as planned.

  • Example: "Indiana was supposed to move to phase five this weekend; instead, the governor created phase 4.5."
    • This means that Indiana was scheduled to, or predicted to, move to "phase five" (of COVID-19 restrictions) that weekend, but it did not. Instead, something else happened.

Understanding "Supposed to"


Despite being spelled as "supposed to," it is commonly pronounced quickly and informally as "s'posed to" in spoken English.

Forming sentences with 'Supposed to'

  • Structure a sentence this way:
    1. [Subject] +
    2. [Verb to be in the past] +
    3. "supposed to" +
    4. [Infinitive of the main verb] +
    5. [Rest of the sentence].
  • Example:
    1. "The Chicago Bears
    2. were
    3. supposed to
    4. win
    5. 12 games last season, but they only won eight."

Intention vs. prediction

"Supposed to" can express both unfulfilled intentions (plans or desires that did not happen) and unmet predictions (forecasts or expectations that were not realized).

  • Intention example: "I was supposed to record two audio lessons today, but I got a sore throat and decided not to."
    • This means, "My intention was to record" but something happened that caused me not to be able to.
  • Prediction example: "The weather was supposed to be bad today, but actually it was nice."
    • This means, "Meteorologists predicted bad weather today, but the prediction was not true."

Additional examples

  • Intention: "You were supposed to read 10 pages in your book last night. Why didn't you do it?"
  • Incorrect prediction: "It was supposed to be in the 90s today, but it only reached 87."
  • Unmet expectations: "The road was supposed to be done by June, but now it won't be finished until September."

Take quiz


Below are two situations. Read each situation carefully and then write a sentence using what you learned in today’s video. Try to make your sentence as closely aligned to the situation as possible. After writing, click “show solution” to see an example solution.

Situation 1

Situation 2

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