Where did the (e)d go?
Sometimes when you read a sentence in and the grammar seems a bit off, but you aren’t sure why.
For example, what if I write “I am suppose to know these things; I have a PhD”? Does that sentence seem correct to you? Some grammar and spell checkers won’t be able to find the error in that sentence, because, after all, there are many times when “suppose” is the correct verb form to use. Just consider the sentences I suppose you want more money? or What do you suppose happened? However, in my sentence above, it should say: “I am supposed to know these things.”
So why is “suppose” correct sometimes, and “supposed” correct sometimes?
In the first case above, there’s a d missing, because the main verb is “am” (as in “I am”), and the verb form “supposed” is what is known as a past participle: it’s used to form what is known as the passive voice. Just compare the following sentences, all of which use the same structure:
I am not allowed to know.
I am expected to know.
I am not prepared to know.
I am asked to know.
It’s unlikely that someone would drop the d in those versions. So why is it so common for writers to make the error with “suppose”?
The answer lies in how the words are spoken. Most English speakers will pronounce “supposed” more with a t sound like “suppost.” Then that gets blended with the t of the following “to.” The end result is that the ed disappears altogether.
There are other examples where the (e)d is left off written words simply because it’s easily glided over in speaking. Can you tell where the (e)d should be in each of the following sentences?
Scroll down to see the answers below.
- I’m surprise you asked me to do that.
- They’re bias against anyone under thirty years of age.
- You better be careful with that.
- Lightning isn’t suppose to strike twice.
- I rather take a taxi.
1. . .surprised 2. . . biased 3. . . you’d 4. . . supposed 5. . . I’d