Suppose in a classroom, the teacher asks a student to analyze an option in a multiple choice question. The student didn't hear it clearly and asks

Sorry, I didn't hear it clearly. Am I supposed to analyze the option B or D?

... Am I expected ...?

According to an ELL post

When the two are used in the affirmative sense, I'd say they are relatively synonymous.

How about this kind of situation, general questions?

Do they mean the same thing?

  • 2
    In this situation (querying an instruction given out in class), Am I supposed to would be more idiomatic. Jul 2, 2020 at 7:58
  • "Should I analyze the option B or D" is a request for clarification of choice between the two. Both "Am I supposed" and "Am I expected" sound to me like questioning the activity as a whole, as if it was something preposterous.
    – SF.
    Jul 2, 2020 at 13:24
  • @SF. "as if it was something preposterous", does it mean that the expression "am I supposed" implies the action of analyzing an option in class is stupid?
    – JJJohn
    Jul 2, 2020 at 13:56
  • @ThomasW: Yes. "We haven't learned anything about it yet. I don't have a clue where to begin, both of these options are way outside the scope of current lesson. Am I really supposed to be doing this?"
    – SF.
    Jul 2, 2020 at 14:02
  • @SF. I got it. In this context, the sense/feeling is quite clear. Thank you so much.
    – JJJohn
    Jul 2, 2020 at 14:04

1 Answer 1


Use "suppose" when there is a higher level of ambiguity. E.g, 50-50 chances that 1 of 2 options will happen.

Use "expected" when the final result is known (or desired) to a higher degree. Example:

It rains and I have no umbrella. I expect that I will get wet.

Another example:

Teacher: I expect that you will do our homework.

Even though the chance that the homework will be done varies from 0% to 100% (depending on many factors), the teacher wants to actually see the homework done (which takes the chances closer to 100%).

Compare with:

Teacher: I suppose that you will do our homework.

in which the teaches knows nothing about the outcome, and he just verbalizes an assumption.

  • Thank you. Does "5-50 chances" mean 50% for B and 50% for D?
    – JJJohn
    Jul 2, 2020 at 14:00
  • I meant "50-50", I updated the answer. Thank you for pointing it out to me.
    – virolino
    Jul 2, 2020 at 14:04

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