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    #1

    supposed to=allowed to

    I've read that in a proper context "supposed to" may be used to ask for permission. Would it be accurate? If I wanted to smoke in the room, could I say "Am I supposed to smoke in the room?" or if there was a printer in the office, could I say "Am I supposed to use this printer?"?

  1. riquecohen's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: supposed to=allowed to

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    I've read that in a proper context "supposed to" may be used to ask for permission. Would it be accurate? If I wanted to smoke in the room, could I say "Am I supposed to smoke in the room?" or if there was a printer in the office, could I say "Am I supposed to use this printer?"?
    In your sentences, you are essentially asking if you are required to smoke or use the printer. If there were a choice of printers or places to smoke, you could ask, "Am I supposed to use this printer (or the one in the other room)?" That is not exactly the same as asking permission.
    "Be supposed to has a meaning rather like should. It is used to talk about what people have to do according to the rules or the law, or about what is expected to happen." Michael Swan, Practical English Usage.
    Look also here. supposed to - Wiktionary

  2. Bennevis's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: supposed to=allowed to

    I agree. Americans use "supposed to" a lot. It's like "must".

    Declarative sentences:
    You are supposed to respect your parents.
    You are supposed to take care of your parents when they get old.
    You are supposed to come to work on time.

    In a question:
    Am I supposed to believe everything those guys are saying after what they did to you? I don't think so.
    Am I supposed to take the garbage out too?

    Negative sentences:
    You are not supposed to smoke here.
    They are not supposed to do your job. They got other things to mind.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: supposed to=allowed to

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    I've read that in a proper context "supposed to" may be used to ask for permission. Would it be accurate? If I wanted to smoke in the room, could I say "Am I supposed to smoke in the room?" or if there was a printer in the office, could I say "Am I supposed to use this printer?"?
    No, it doesn't work that way.
    In the negative form, though, "You're not supposed to use that" usually means something like "You're not allowed to use that."
    "You're not supposed to smoke in here" ~ "You're not allowed to smoke in here."

    A: Am I allowed to use this printer?
    B: No, you're supposed to use the one in the other room.

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