Hi,

Sentence:

1. She is/was not supposed to have been angry about that.

What the difference between "was" and "is"?

I feel there is no difference. They all convey the idea that she shouldn't have been angry, but she indeed was.

Am I right?

Original Post
Robby zhu posted:
1. She is/was not supposed to have been angry about that.

What the difference between "was" and "is"?

I feel there is no difference. They all convey the idea that she shouldn't have been angry, but she indeed was.

Hi, Robby zhu,

There is a difference. The most natural sentence (fitting a normal context) is "She was not supposed to be angry about that," with "to be angry" rather than "to have been angry." The sentence means that she shouldn't have been angry about that, and implies that she was.

With "to have been" ("She was not supposed to have been angry about that"), the sentence means that she shouldn't have been angry about that, and implies that she in fact was not angry about it. The use of the perfective ("to have been") in the past context ("was not supposed") creates a sense of counterfactuality.

With "is" and "to have been" ("She is not supposed to have been angry about that"), the sentence is very weird, but it might be used in a context in which the speaker is speaking of what should not have been the case from the standpoint of the present. Perhaps the speaker is evaluating a narrative.

Thanks. David. 

David, Moderator posted:

With "to have been" ("She was not supposed to have been angry about that"), the sentence means that she shouldn't have been angry about that, and implies that she in fact was not angry about it. The use of the perfective ("to have been") in the past context ("was not supposed") creates a sense of counterfactuality.

 

I have difficulty in understanding this part.

Here is an example taken from:

https://www.macmillandictionar...d-to-do-be-something

- Today was supposed to have been sunny, but it’s raining.

My interpretation:

- "Was" indicates a thought in the past. The meaning is close to "We supposed previously the weather would be sunny now"

- "To have been sunny." means the fact is country to my previous supposition-- It is not sunny.

Am I right?

Robby zhu posted:
- Today was supposed to have been sunny, but it’s raining.


My interpretation:

- "Was" indicates a thought in the past. The meaning is close to "We supposed previously the weather would be sunny now"

- "To have been sunny." means the fact is country to my previous supposition-- It is not sunny.

That's partly right. The problem is that you seem to understand "be supposed to" as a passive construction, and it is not naturally understood that way in examples like these.

If I say, "It was supposed to be sunny today," I am not reporting on someone's past supposition: "John supposed it to be sunny today"; "It was supposed by John to be sunny today."

No, "It was supposed to be sunny today" just means "It should be sunny today." The sentence is neutral about whether it really is sunny today. But "It was supposed to have been sunny today" implies that it is not sunny today.

When negation is added in the "be supposed" part, as in the earlier example ("She was not supposed to have been angry"), we have an indication that she was not angry ("to have been") and an indication that she shouldn't have been.

Add Reply

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×