How to Use “Supposed to” in English

Have you ever come across the phrase “supposed to” while learning English and wondered how to use it correctly? Well, you’re in the right place! In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of using “supposed to” in English and provide you with practical examples to enhance your understanding. So, let’s get started!


When learning a new language, understanding common expressions and phrases is essential. “Supposed to” is a widely used phrase in English that carries various meanings depending on the context. It is crucial to comprehend its usage to effectively communicate your intentions and ideas. In the following sections, we will explore the different ways “supposed to” can be used and provide you with insightful examples to clarify its meaning.

Understanding the Meaning of “Supposed to”

“Supposed to” is a versatile phrase that can be used to express obligations, expectations, or assumptions. It is often used to convey what is considered normal, required, or anticipated in a given situation. Let’s explore each of these uses in detail.

🎯Rules: Sub+Be verb( am, is, are, was, were)+supposed to+ base form of the verb.


✅To talk about duty, Responsibility, and obligation:

✅Intention or Purpose


✅Popular belief

Using “Supposed to” to Express Obligations

One common use of “supposed to” is to indicate obligations or duties. When you say someone is “supposed to” do something, it means there is an expectation or requirement for them to fulfill a particular task or responsibility. For example:

Obligation at Work:-

    • John is supposed to submit his report by the end of the day.

Social Etiquette:-

    • You’re supposed to shake hands when you meet someone for the first time.

Supposed to

Using “Supposed to” to Talk about Expectations

Another way “supposed to” is used is to express expectations. In this context, it refers to what is commonly anticipated or predicted. It implies that something should happen based on general norms or beliefs. Consider the following examples:

Expectations for Weather:-

    • It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so don’t forget your umbrella.

Expected Behavior:-

    • Students are supposed to raise their hands before asking a question in class.
Supposed to

Using “Supposed to” to Indicate Assumptions

“Supposed to” can also be employed to indicate assumptions or things that are likely to be true. It implies a degree of certainty or belief in a particular outcome. Here are a few examples:

Assumptions about Age:-

    • He’s supposed to be turning 40 next month.

Assumptions about Abilities

    • She’s supposed to be an excellent pianist.
Supposed to

Examples of Using “Supposed to” in Different Contexts

To further illustrate the usage of “supposed to,” let’s explore some examples in different contexts:

Social Norms:-

    • People are supposed to wear formal attire for the wedding.

Parental Expectations:-

    • Children are supposed to listen to their parents.

Traffic Rules:-

    • Drivers are supposed to stop at red lights.

Time Management:-

    • You’re supposed to be punctual for meetings.

Common Mistakes and Pitfalls to Avoid

When using “supposed to,” it’s important to be aware of common mistakes to ensure accurate communication. Here are a few pitfalls to avoid:

  1. Confusing “supposed to” with “suppose to” (a common misspelling).
  2. Incorrectly using “supposed to” in negative sentences without the appropriate negation.
  3. Using “supposed to” without considering the context and intended meaning.

By being mindful of these mistakes, you can effectively communicate your ideas and intentions without any confusion.

Tips for Using “Supposed to” Effectively

To maximize the effectiveness of your communication, here are some tips for using “supposed to” correctly:

  1. Pay attention to the context and choose the appropriate meaning.
  2. Use “supposed to” to express obligations, expectations, or assumptions.
  3. Consider the verb tense and adjust accordingly.
  4. Practice using “supposed to” in various situations to improve fluency.
  5. Seek feedback from native speakers to refine your usage.

By following these tips, you can confidently incorporate “supposed to” into your English conversations and written expressions.

suppose to

Practice Exercises to Reinforce Learning

To solidify your understanding of “supposed to,” here are a few practice exercises:

1. Fill in the blanks with the correct form of “supposed to”

    • I ____________ finish my homework by tonight.
    • They ____________ arrive at the airport before noon.

    2. Write five sentences using “supposed to” to express different meanings.



    In conclusion, understanding how to use “supposed to” in English is essential for effective communication. Whether expressing obligations, expectations, or assumptions, this phrase plays a crucial role in conveying the intended meaning. By familiarizing yourself with its various applications and practicing its usage, you can confidently incorporate “supposed to into your English vocabulary.


    1. Can “Supposed to” be used in formal writing?

    Yes, “supposed to” can be used in formal writing as long as it is appropriate for the context and conveys the intended meaning accurately.

    2. Are there any alternatives to using “Supposed to”?

    Yes, alternatives to “supposed to” include phrases like “expected to,” “required to,” or “should.”

    3. Can “Supposed to” be used in the negative form?

    Yes, “supposed to” can be used in the negative form by adding “not” after “supposed.”

    4. Does “Supposed to” and “Supposedly” differ?

    Yes, “supposed to” indicates an obligation or expectation, while “supposedly” implies that something is claimed or believed to be true.

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