Is the Leg Suppose to Be Straight?
by Owen Fourie
It depends on what you’re doing. If you are standing at attention, yes, both legs should be straight. If you are kneeling, keeping your legs straight could prove to be quite challenging.
The straightness or contorted agony of a leg is a minor point here, though. What needs to be noted is the grammar in the title.
The word suppose should be supposed. The question should be
Is the Leg Supposed to Be Straight?
Using suppose to instead of supposed to is common. This question was formed from a statement on the Internet:
… the leg is suppose to be straight …
Be careful about this. If you use suppose to instead of supposed to in informal writing and speech it will be accepted and understood, but you should avoid this mistake in formal situations.
Test yourself: Supposed to or Suppose
Test yourself to see if you can make the correct choice in the following sentences. Either say supposed to or suppose in the blank space to complete each sentence correctly. Note that suppose (not suppose to) will be correct usage in some sentences. The answers are given after the exercise.
- I’m ______ call him in the morning.
- I’m not ______ tell you this.
- You were ______ let me know.
- He is ______ be the best tutor in town.
- ______ he says it cannot be done. What then?
- You are not ______ be noisy in the library.
- ______ you win the lottery. Will you continue your studies?
- I’m ______ be studying right now.
- This book is not ______ be here.
- I don’t ______ you could help me with this essay, could you?
- You are ______ turn it in on Wednesday.
- We are ______ meet at his place.
- I ______ we could go home first, but I don’t want to.
- What’s that ______ mean?
- He is ______ be there by now.
- What is it you are ______ show him?
- I ______ it will rain before we get there.
Suppose is correct for 5, 7, 10, 13, 17.
Supposed to is correct for 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16.
If you find that you tend to say suppose to when you should say supposed to, take a while to recite the following sentences (repeated here from the above exercise) to form the habit of correct usage.
- I’m supposed to call him in the morning.
- I’m not supposed to tell you this.
- You were supposed to let me know.
- He is supposed to be the best tutor in town.
- You are not supposed to be noisy in the library.
- I’m supposed to be studying right now.
- This book is not supposed to be here.
- You are supposed to turn it in on Wednesday.
- We are supposed to meet at his place.
- What’s that supposed to mean?
- He is supposed to be there by now.
- What is it you are supposed to show him?
- Suppose he says it cannot be done. What then?
- Suppose you win the lottery. Will you continue your studies?
- I don’t suppose you could help me with this essay, could you?
- I suppose we could go home first, but I don’t want to.
- I suppose it will rain before we get there.
Now you are supposed to use these expressions correctly, and I suppose you will. Keep the grammar straight in formal contexts and do what you will with your legs.
Your comments, observations, and questions are welcome. If you are puzzled by similar incorrect expressions that are commonly used in speech and in writing, mention them in your comments for discussion.
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