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Are both "be meant + infinitive" and "be supposed + infinitive" equivalent? Options
A cooperator
Posted: Monday, December 25, 2017 2:24:07 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/27/2011
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Location: Ḩāḑírah, Hadramawt, Yemen
Hi everyone!

I found out "Be supposed + infinitive" is used to say what people have to do (or not do) according to the rules or the law, or about what is (not) expected to happen.

Are both "be meant + infinitive" and "be supposed + infinitive" equivalent?

Dan left me after a month so I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.
Dan left me after a month so I guess it just wasn’t supposed to be.

However, if followed by passive infinitive as in "be meant + passive infinitive", then it is still meant to be meant as said above.



Its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.
I tried transferring the passive form of "to be discussed" to active form. So, I am sure that it means "its final status is meant to people discuss it......"

However, If I had to transfer the passive form of "its final status is meant", then you think they would have been as follows below . I tried transferring the passive forms to active forms, but it looks clumsy.

People mean its final status to people discuss it....

If my attempts to produce the active are futile, then do you think I can think of "be meant/be supposed" as a model verb "should/must" or as "have to"/"need to".





Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
A cooperator
Posted: Tuesday, December 26, 2017 4:41:16 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/27/2011
Posts: 2,784
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Location: Ḩāḑírah, Hadramawt, Yemen
Could anyone please answer me?

Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
A cooperator
Posted: Saturday, January 6, 2018 9:15:59 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/27/2011
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Location: Ḩāḑírah, Hadramawt, Yemen
Could anyone please reply to me?


I can consider these three constructions equivalent?
"This opportunity is destined for all countries."
"This opportunity is meant to be for all countries."
"This opportunity is supposed to be for all countries."

Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
palapaguy
Posted: Saturday, January 6, 2018 11:56:29 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/28/2013
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Location: Calabasas, California, United States
A cooperator wrote:
Could anyone please reply to me?

I can consider these three constructions equivalent?
"This opportunity is destined for all countries."
"This opportunity is meant to be for all countries."
"This opportunity is supposed to be for all countries."


NO. It depends upon the context of the usage. You can't learn English by creating your own rules or equivalencies. Once you do that you'll naturally try to force specific usages backward into those rules. Then you'll start to argue to defend your rules, as you have done in this forum.

English does not work like that, as several posters here have told (tried to tell) you. The English language is nuanced. It requires focus on MEANING and learning through face-to-face practice. You will never succeed at trying to shortcut that fact, especially through a text-based forum such as this, using free volunteers.
Fyfardens
Posted: Sunday, January 7, 2018 3:14:23 AM
Rank: Member

Joined: 12/16/2017
Posts: 333
Neurons: 4,637
A cooperator wrote:

If my attempts to produce the active are futile, then do you think I can think of "be meant/be supposed" as a model verb "should/must" or as "have to"/"need to".


I take it you mean 'modal'. The answer to your question is "No".


I speak British English (standard southern, slightly dated).
A cooperator
Posted: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 10:04:31 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/27/2011
Posts: 2,784
Neurons: 10,062
Location: Ḩāḑírah, Hadramawt, Yemen
palapaguy wrote:
A cooperator wrote:
Could anyone please reply to me?

I can consider these three constructions equivalent?
"This opportunity is destined for all countries."
"This opportunity is meant to be for all countries."
"This opportunity is supposed to be for all countries."


NO. It depends upon the context of the usage. You can't learn English by creating your own rules or equivalencies. Once you do that you'll naturally try to force specific usages backward into those rules. Then you'll start to argue to defend your rules, as you have done in this forum.

English does not work like that, as several posters here have told (tried to tell) you. The English language is nuanced. It requires focus on MEANING and learning through face-to-face practice. You will never succeed at trying to shortcut that fact, especially through a text-based forum such as this, using free volunteers.


Thank you both, Palapaguy, and Fyfardens
I was told, in another thread of mine, by Audiendus,

This opportunity is meant to be for all countries.
This opportunity is supposed to be for all countries.
Audiendus said, "I would just say: "This opportunity is for all countries". "Destined" seems a strange way of saying it. ("Meant to be" and "supposed to be" wrongly suggest that there is something preventing it from applying to all countries.)"

Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, January 11, 2018 4:37:34 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 28,486
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hi A Cooperator.

I have just seen this thread - I must have missed it somehow.
I'm going to answer the first set of questions from December the twenty-fifth.

You are right that, often, "be supposed to + infinitive" means almost the same as "be meant to + infinitive".
In most sentences, they are so similar that you could interchange them.
However, in some meanings/usages, it is normal idiom to use one of them, but not the other.

I'll see whether I can see a pattern. . .
I have thought of a few examples, and the only pattern I can see is:
1. Both can be used in any situation, but "supposed to" is much more common.
2. If there is no intention or order, then "meant to" is VERY rarely used - almost never used.

In my experience:
I am supposed to be at work at 6:30 tomorrow. - very common
I am meant to be at work at 6:30 tomorrow. - not so common
It's supposed to rain tomorrow. - very common
It's meant to rain tomorrow. - very rare
It was supposed to rain yesterday, but it didn't. - very common
It was meant to rain yesterday, but it didn't. - very rare

************
These two are used interchangeably - no-one ever thinks of the differences in meaning:
It wasn't meant to be. - Someone (God, Allah, "The Fates", or whoever) decided that it wouldn't happen.
It wasn't supposed to be. - This means more like 'it didn't happen because of unintended circumstances'.

*************
It is the same with a passive second verb - it depends on intention.

Its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.
- Someone (the person/people who decided the agenda) intend that it will be discussed.
Its final status is supposed to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks. - People (in general) expect that it will be discussed - or - There is a rumour that it will be discussed.

This makes sense if you look at the definitions of 'mean to' and 'suppose'.

mean 1 v.
3. To have as a purpose or an intention; intend: I meant to go running this morning, but I overslept.

sup·pose v.
2.a. To believe, especially on uncertain or tentative grounds: Scientists supposed that large dinosaurs lived in swamps.
b. To consider to be probable or likely: I suppose it will rain.

American Heritage Dictionary

*************
Its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

This sentence has TWO passives.
"It is meant . . ." is the passive of "Someone means . . ."
"To be discussed" is the passive infinitive of "To discuss".
Your attempts to change it to active was a good try - but the two passive forms got mixed together.

It can be changed to an active sentence with a passive infinitive:
<Someone> ("The Prime Minister" or "Mr Thant") means its final status to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

OR it can be changed to a passive sentence with an active infinitive (but a preposition in needed, and the sentence is rather unnatural):
For <the politicians> to discuss its final status is meant in the latter stages of peace talks. - You would never hear this type of sentence.

OR it can be changed to an active sentence with an active infinitive:
<Someone> ("The Prime Minister" or "Mrs May" or whoever) means them (the politicians) to discuss its final status in the latter stages of peace talks.

The 'double active' form would be used when it is important to name the people involved.
The 'double passive' form is common in newspapers, where the people involved have already been named earlier in the report.

*******
As Palapaguy says, which 'synonyms' are exactly equivalent depends on the context.
"Meant to be"; "supposed to be"; "destined to be"; "expected to be"; "intended to be" can all - in SOME circumstances - be substituted for one of the others.
However, the predominant meaning of the verb has to be known.

"Mean" and "intend" are very similar and can be interchanged when that is the idea.
"Suppose" and "expect" are very similar and can be interchanged when the idea is "expect, probably".
"Destined" and "expect" are similar and can be interchanged when the idea is "expect, definitely", but this is not a common phrase.

The weather is meant to be sunny.
The weather is supposed to be sunny.
The weather is expected to be sunny.
- these three would mean more or less the same (People think it will probably be sunny)
The weather is intended to be sunny. - this would be VERY unusual - I don't think anyone would say it. "Intend" is usually used in the active voice.
The weather is destined to be sunny. - this might be used somewhere the weather is VERY predictable, not Britain.

We are meant to catch the two-o'-clock train.
We are supposed to catch the two-o'-clock train.
We are expected to catch the two-o'-clock train.
- These mean more or less the same - we should catch that train - it would be the right thing to do, and someone has planned it.
We are intended to catch the two-o'-clock train. - this would be VERY unusual - I don't think anyone would say it. "Intend" is usually used in the active voice and weather is not 'intended'.
We are destined to catch the two-o'-clock train. - this would possibly be used if you intended to catch an earlier train, but realised that you were too late. "Destiny" has absolutely NO intention/volition. It is purely accidental.

***************
I hope that helps

EDITED to add:
What Audiendus says is true.
Often "I meant to", "I am meant to" and "I am supposed to" are used with a negative addition.

She meant to go to work this morning but she woke up too late.
I am meant to see my doctor tomorrow, but I have to work.
He is supposed to see his doctor tomorrow, but he has to work.
I am supposed to go to work, but I am not going to.

So, in some sentences, if you use 'be supposed to' or 'be meant to', it can sound like you are going to say that it will not happen.

It is better (if positive) to use "I am going to", "I plan to", "I have to".

She went to work this morning.
I am going to see my doctor tomorrow.
He has to see his doctor tomorrow.
I have to go to work.


****************
The lesson here is:

1. One needs to understand each word - even 'synonyms' have different implications.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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