Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: supposed to.

“Supposed to” (= expected to) wrongly made *”suppose to” is an exceedingly common error — e.g.: o “We’re suppose [read ‘supposed’] to feel her greatest humiliation in this scene.” Avis L. Weathersbee, “Judging TV’s Black Images,” Chicago Sun-Times, 8 Apr. 2001, Showcase §, at 1. o “‘The Price of Milk’ is suppose [read ‘supposed’] to be a surreal romantic comedy about two young lovers who encounter a series of strange encounters and situations.” Paul Stevens, “So Sour,” Buffalo News, 18 May 2001, at G6. o “He was suppose [read ‘supposed’] to be a lawyer, in fact was in his second year of law school at Florida State University, when he had an epiphany.” “Artistic Tribute to 4-Legged Victims,” Atlanta J.-Const., 26 May 2001, Features §, at C2. In constructions in which “suppose” means “to assume,” an infinitive may follow the verb {I suppose this to be your answer}. Language-Change Index — *"is suppose to" for "is supposed to": Stage 1. *Invariably inferior forms. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “To be fully useful, documents of more than 25,000 words require an index. . . . A poor index is frequently cited as the major weakness of books that critics otherwise like and admire.” Ernst Jacobi, Writing at Work: Dos, Don’ts, and How Tos 166 (1976).

1 thought on “Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: supposed to.”

  1. I am a law clerk at a state appellate court. I have embraced the use of the “em-dash,” “en-dash,” and “hyphen” as discussed in the Redbook. Section 1.49-.51 indicate that the em-dash should be used without spaces between the words and the punctuation. Throughout this website, you input a space between the word and the em-dash. I write this in partial jest, but, years of instruction to my coworkers regarding the em-dash have been tarnished. Which use is proper?

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