Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'm Supposed to Be Working

Hey, all new content! Not necessarily good or interesting, but new.

I awoke this morning with the word "suppose" rattling around my brain like a wing nut in a tin can. After using it all my life, I just realized what an odd word it is.

"Suppose" can mean something like presume/assume/infer: "I suppose the paint is dry."

It can carry a tinge of resigned acquiesence: "I suppose I'll do the laundry."

Linked with the word "to," it takes on a related but slightly different meaning similar to should: "I'm supposed to pluck the chickens." It's really kind of single thought, isn't it? "Supposedto."

It can also communicate doubt, like alleged: "The supposed psychic Kreskin hypnotized the audience." Sometimes a speaker emphasizes the last syllable to say "suppose-ed" instead of "supposd," but not always. It works either way.

Think about how different a sentence like "I'm supposed to have robbed the bank" is from "I was supposed to rob the bank." Or "I suppose I robbed the bank." Or "Suppose I robbed the bank."

It's a complicated word! Extremely subtle context is key to its meaning. The proper use of "suppose" must be one of the last things a non-native speaker learns. That's Super Advanced English right there, yet most of us get it as children. Language is amazing!

But the big question is this: I'm OK, right? I mean, other people wake up thinking about stuff like this. Sure they do! It's perfectly normal. It's not like I wake up visualizing abstract shapes that I'm compelled to draw over and over in the steamy condensation on the shower door until I've mastered them. That would just be weird.



sligo said...

I suppose so.

Tim said...

Supposedly, this is perfectly normal.

Jim O'Kane said...

"Tunnel" never looks like it's spelled correctly to me.