Free Intermediate English Course - CEFR B2 - Lesson 6 of 25
Intermediate English Grammar (B2)

Supposed to

Watch four videos using the modal "supposed to" in conversation.

Conversation 1

Man: What are you doing here?
Woman: What do you mean?
Man: You’re supposed to be at the office.
Woman: I thought I was supposed to be here.
Man: No, they need you in the office.
Woman: OK, got it. I’m on my way.

Conversation 2

Man: Hey, you’re not supposed to eat on the train.
Woman: Oh, really? Since when?
Man: Since forever.
Woman: Oops. What about drinking?
Man: You’re not supposed to do that either, but people do it anyway.
Woman: OK, that’s good to know.

Conversation 3

Man: What happened to you last night?
Woman: I got called in to work.
Man: Oh, last minute meeting?
Woman: No, my friend was supposed to work, but he got sick.
Man: Well, I hope you can make it next week.
Woman: I hope so too.

Conversation 4

Man: What did the boss say at the meeting?
Woman: It’s a secret. I'm not supposed to tell anyone.
Man: Come on! You can tell me.
Woman: OK, but it's a secret. We won't be launching our new product this year.
Man: What? We were supposed to launch it this Fall.
Woman: I know. Plans change. They decided to scrap it.

Supposed to

Point 1: We use ‘supposed to + base verb’ to express that someone or something is not doing what was expected. It's similar in meaning to should.
  • I was supposed to work today, but I got sick. (I did not work as planned.)
  • Where is Joe? He is supposed to be here. (He is not here, but should be.)
  • The game was supposed to be easy. It wasn’t.
  • The movie was supposed to be funny. It wasn’t.

Point 2: The verb phrase uses the following pattern:

Subject + be auxiliary + supposed + infinitive verb

Question Form

  • Are you supposed to be at work?
  • Wasn’t he supposed to be here?
  • How was I supposed to know?


  1. They are not supposed to be doing that.
  2. She is supposed to be helping me.
  3. You are supposed to know this.


  1. He wasn’t supposed to be here.
  2. You aren’t supposed to eat that.
  3. This object is not supposed to be here. Something is amiss!
Point 3: Pronunciation - The particle ‘to’ is usually strongly reduced to sound like /ta/ in spoken English.
  1. He’s supposed to be done by now.
  2. We were supposed to go, but something came up.
  3. It is supposed to rain tomorrow.
  4. It was supposed to be sunny today.
Point 4: Shortened Form - When continuing a discussion about a recurring action, the base verb at the end of the phrase is often omitted, even if it was not fully used previously. In such cases, the particle ‘to’ is not reduced and spoken clearly.
  1. Isn’t Jill supposed to be here?
    Yeah, she was supposed to.
  2. Why should the man always pay for the date?
    Because he’s supposed to.
  3. Am I allowed to smoke in here?
    You’re not supposed to.
  4. Can I use the company car on the weekend?
    You’re not supposed to, but I’ll allow it this time.
Answer these questions about the interview.


More Grammar Conversations for Intermediate Students (2)

Grammar Listening Practice

B1 Grammar Thumb
B2-06 Supposed to
You’re supposed to be at the office.

B1 Grammar Thumb
B2-07 Get used to
You’ll get used to it.

B1 Grammar Thumb
B2-08 As -- As Comparatives
It is not as fun as my last job

B1 Grammar Thumb
B2-09 As - As Phrases
Keep it as long as you like.

B1 Grammar Thumb
B2-10 Frequency Phrases
I go there once in a blue moon.

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