“Are we supposed to be out here?” I ask, noticing the deep feet prints we’re leaving in our wake.

What does “Are we supposed to be out here?” mean?


"Sally, why are you playing? You are supposed to be washing the dishes!"

To be supposed to be doing something means to follow an obligation or to do something another person expects you to do.

It could also be worded, "Are we allowed to be here?" or perhaps "Does someone expect us to be here?" My guess is the latter from the context, but either interpretation is valid.

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The kind question can be kind of subtle. On the surface it's plainly asking if there is a rule against them being where they are, or, "Are we allowed to be here?" but it can also be a way of asking for reassurance that the place where they are is a safe place to be and whether the person in the lead knows what they're doing or not.

When traveling along a dangerous stretch of beach with a cliff on one side and with sucking sticky mud instead of soft sand and a rising tide, one might ask, "Are we supposed to be out here?"

It's another way of saying, "This place scares me, and I need to know if I'm safe." The person asking isn't worried about breaking rules, they're worried about being hurt.

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