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  1. #1
    ostap77 is offline Key Member
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    Default supposed to have been

    A."Where is John?

    B."He's in the backyard mowing the grass."

    A."How long has John been working for?"

    If I didn't know how long he's been out there working for,could I say,

    1) "He's probably been working there for two hours now."

    2) "He's supposed to have been working there for two hours now."

    3) "He must have been working there for two hours now."
    Last edited by ostap77; 03-Feb-2012 at 13:09. Reason: long

  2. #2
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: supposed to have been

    What's your question?

    1 is an estimate; probably more than an hour and less than three

    2 Doesn't mean anything likely.. It implies that John was obliged to start at least two hours ago - maybe he has a regular duty. Any context that supported this usage would have to pretty contrived. (There's a challenge. )

    3 Another sort of estimate - a long time: well over an hour and a half, probably two.

    b

  3. #3
    ostap77 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: supposed to have been

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    What's your question?

    1 is an estimate; probably more than an hour and less than three

    2 Doesn't mean anything likely.. It implies that John was obliged to start at least two hours ago - maybe he has a regular duty. Any context that supported this usage would have to pretty contrived. (There's a challenge. )

    3 Another sort of estimate - a long time: well over an hour and a half, probably two.

    b
    So if I were John's superior and told him to get started two hours ago, I could say "He's supposed to have been working for two hours now.'', correct?

  4. #4
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    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: supposed to have been

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    So if I were John's superior and told him to get started two hours ago, I could say "He's supposed to have been working for two hours now.'', correct?
    Yes.

  5. #5
    ostap77 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: supposed to have been

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Yes.
    If my friend was cramming for an exam and I knew that instead of reading for two hours he's only been reading for 30 minutes, could I say something like "You ought to have been reading for two hours now if you want to get through the book and get prepared for the exam."?

  6. #6
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: supposed to have been

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    If my friend was cramming for an exam and I knew that instead of reading for two hours he's only been reading for 30 minutes, could I say something like "You ought to have been reading for two hours now if you want to get through the book and get prepared for the exam."?
    Yes, you could say that.

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