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Thread: be supposed to

  1. #1
    gchman is offline Junior Member
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    Exclamation be supposed to

    Hello there.

    Which is the most natural?

    We were supposed to make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off.
    We would make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off.
    We were going to make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off.


    Please help me!

  2. #2
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    Wink Re: be supposed to

    Quote Originally Posted by gchman View Post
    Hello there.

    Which is the most natural?

    We were supposed to make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off.
    We would make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off.
    We were going to make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off.


    Please help me!

    1. We were supposed to make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off.

    3. We were going to make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off.

    These two sound natural and are correct. I would not use the other sentence. If you have a follow-up question to this, please, post it.


  3. #3
    Daruma is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: be supposed to

    We were planning to make a presentation tomorrow ...

    How does this sound?

  4. #4
    albeit is offline Banned
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    Default Re: be supposed to

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruma View Post
    We were planning to make a presentation tomorrow ...

    How does this sound?
    That would certainly work, Daruma.



    We would make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off.

    What makes you think that this one is possible, Gchman?

  5. #5
    Daruma is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: be supposed to

    We were expected to make a presentation tomorrow ...

    How does this sound?

  6. #6
    gchman is offline Junior Member
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    Smile Re: be supposed to

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    1. We were supposed to make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off.

    3. We were going to make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off.

    These two sound natural and are correct. I would not use the other sentence. If you have a follow-up question to this, please, post it.

    Thank you for your reply.
    I wonder why you do not use "would" in this case.
    Could you explain it to me?

  7. #7
    gchman is offline Junior Member
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    Unhappy Re: be supposed to

    Quote Originally Posted by albeit View Post
    That would certainly work, Daruma.



    We would make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off.

    What makes you think that this one is possible, Gchman?
    I just wanted to show the past tense of "will" and I do not know why it is wrong.

  8. #8
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: be supposed to

    Quote Originally Posted by gchman View Post
    Hello there.

    Which is the most natural?

    We were supposed to make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off.
    We would make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off.
    We were going to make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off.


    Please help me!
    There isn't much difference between the first one and the third. They both convey the same idea, and I think an ordinary English speaker would say either one interchangeably.

    The middle one doesn't make any sense.

    "We would have made a presentation yesterday, but our boss put it off" is a good sentence.

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    Default Re: be supposed to

    Quote Originally Posted by gchman View Post
    Thank you for your reply.
    I wonder why you do not use "would" in this case.
    Could you explain it to me?
    Quote Originally Posted by gchman View Post
    I just wanted to show the past tense of "will" and I do not know why it is wrong.

    Would - This does not always function as the "past of will". The second sentence expresses an imaginary idea, which is what makes it different from the first and third sentence. The second sentence is an implied conditional. In other words there's an understood "if clause" in the second sentence.

    1. We were supposed to make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off.
    2. We would make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off.
    3. We were going to make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put if off.

    2. We would make a presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off. - Even with an "if" clause, this sentence really doesn't make sense because it would indicate that "our boss continually puts off tomorrow's presentation.

    We would make a presentation tomorrow if our boss didn't put it off. - So this is a present time reference and it is unreal or imaginary, which would mean the reality is this: Our boss puts off the presentation tomorrow. This does not make sense because there is only one presentation tomorrow to speak of, and the boss is not habitually putting it off.

    To use "would" the sentence should be as follows: We would've made the presentation tomorrow, but our boss put it off. We would've made the presentation tomorrow if our boss hadn't put it off.

    It could also be "We would make the presentation tomorrow if our boss hadn't put it off".

    Using "would" or "would have" to express the idea of "the boss putting off the meeting tomorrow" is completely different from using "were going to" or "were supposed to".

    Ultimately, it can be confusing to consider that modal auxiliaries relate to each other in terms of past and present. This is not how I teach or explain "would" because it has the potential to cause the kind of confusion that makes you ask this question.
    Last edited by PROESL; 18-Sep-2009 at 15:17. Reason: corrected typing errors and added an example

  10. #10
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    Default Re: be supposed to

    Quote Originally Posted by Daruma View Post
    We were expected to make a presentation tomorrow ...

    How does this sound?
    It's correct, but using "supposed to" is best as the first choice to express this idea, and I think it's more usual. Using "expected to" sounds stronger to me, and it might be a more logical or preferred choice in a given context. However, I think "supposed to" is the best choice here.

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