BE supposed to infinitive

BE supposed to infinitive

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The B1 / B2 divide seems to have many clashing or repeated points when locating forms.   This post introduces another.   The B2 points 153 in the category of MODALITY “be supposed to” to talk about expectation or obligation, and point 130 also in MODALITY ” be supposed to’ to talk about hearsay or supposition clashes with point 121 at B1 ‘was supposed to’, ‘were supposed to’ to refer to past or future arrangements which may not have happened or may change, and point 99 B1 1 a limited range of expressions with ‘be’ + infinitive (‘be allowed to’, ‘be supposed to’, ‘be able to’) with present and past forms of ‘be’ and with modal ‘will’.

These examples from point 99 B1 seem like expectations at B2 or merely repeat B1 121 discussing arrangements which may not have happened:

The film is supposed to start at 7.00 pm so we’d better meet at 6.30 pm. See you there!
I was supposed to be meeting my friend Laura but she didn’t come.

 

Let’s take a look at the iWeb corpus to see how this structure is used.  A search for collocates 4 left and right of _vb* supposed to _v?i* comes up with:

1 BE 172671

The adjectives have been shifted to the right.

2 ‘RE 20811

3 HAPPEN 2785

4 REPRESENT 2340
5 BEHAVE 337
6 RESEMBLE 207
7 REGULATE 206
8 MIMIC 142
9 SYMBOLIZE 141
10 EVOKE 100

11 IMPARTIAL 99

12 SIGNIFY 90
13 UPHOLD 87

14 UNBIASED 75

15 EMBODY 74
16 USHER 74
17 DEPICT 72

18 JOYOUS 66
19 HAPPIEST 64

20 REPEL 59

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