Suppose vs. Supposed

Posted by on Jan 17, 2014 in Business Writing | 0 comments

If you’re ever not quite sure where to look for terrible grammar examples for your blog that features examples of terrible grammar, just go to any sports website and scroll down toward the burning muck that they call “the message boards.” Not only can you have a great laugh at the dregs of society lobbing hideously misinformed opinions back and forth in ALL CAPS, but you’ll also be privy to all sorts of incredible language mangling.

Some of the mangles and misspellings are so insane that there’s no reason to mention them – like the one guy in a Sixers cap furiously typing away about how much HE HATE HIM SOME BAWSTUN SELTIKS!!!!!!! Occasionally, however, the mistakes are actually applicable to the world outside of mommy’s basement as well. Take this one for example…

“I don’t care how hurt you are, if we’re paying you 15 million dollars, you’re suppose to make the damn tackle!”

With that in mind, here’s a little quiz. Which one is correct?

Eh) “We were suppose to go to the beach, but it started to rain.”
Bee) “We were supposed to go to the beach, but it started to rain.”

The answer of course is answer Bee. (I apologize. I let a Canadian entomologist type those) I’m pretty sure the reason people consistently get this one wrong is because the “D” sound at the end of “supposed” is immediately followed by the hard “T” sound at the beginning of “to.” When you’re saying it out loud, in almost any accent, the “D” gets completely lost. And if it doesn’t get lost, you’re probably boring people to death with the pace of the conversation. When spoken aloud, “supposed to,” really does sound like “suppose to.” But just remember, even though you’re hearing “suppose to” in your head, the “d” has just sort of blended itself into the “t.” Basically, the “d” at the end of “supposed” is like that friend you had in college who was awesome until they met someone sort of covertly manipulative at a tiki bar one night and your next real conversation with them came years later after their inevitable divorce.

The “d’ and the “t” are in love. It’s complicated and you just don’t understand!

Anyway, if you’re unsure, just remember that the word “supposed” and the word “expected” are almost always interchangeable in these cases.

“We were supposed to go to the beach, but it started to rain.”
“We expected to go to the beach, but it started to rain.”

Using “suppose” would be like saying, “We expect to go to the beach, but it started to rain.” In that instance, congratulations on creating your own time warp. Although, condolences about being ripped apart by the black hole you created.

Going back to our original example provides another good look at how the two words can often be swapped.

“I don’t care how hurt you are, if we’re paying you 15 million dollars, you’re expected to make the damn tackle.”

See, interchangeable.

The word “suppose” is for situations where you’re trying to convey uncertainty …

“Yeah, I suppose Cleveland could one day win the Super Bowl.”

Or a proposed situation…

“Suppose for a second I ran off to Vegas with your mom.”

Although, as we all know, the proposed situation usually ends up being a situation that already happened. There’s a 92% chance the person proposing the situation has already run off to Vegas with your mom and they’re simply trying to gauge how you’re going to react when you inevitably find out. Which will probably go something like this…

“Suppose I punched you straight in the teeth.”

So that’s it. Follow those easy tips and next time you’re slamming your general manager or star linebacker on some website, at least your grammar won’t be as crappy as your opinions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>