What are the differences between:

  1. It is expected to employ 500 people in the factory.
  2. It is intended to employ 500 people in the factory.

I think the first one means the factory hopes to employ 500 people, and the second one means the factory has a plan to hire 500 people.

Am I right? Does the first one sound natural?

  • 5
    It is expected to employ 500 people in the factory is only valid if it refers to some contextually-established higher level organization in control of the factory's future (it's not the "existential "it" of "It's raining"). But that's not possible with It is intended to employ 500 people in the factory, so your second utterance is syntactically invalid. Badly invalid - all native Anglophones will notice, because that's not the kind of error the natives would make. Nov 28, 2023 at 14:01
  • Though the answers give a good distinction of what the two should mean I would not be confident that most speakers would make the distinction. They would conflate it with "the factory will probably employ 500 people" as well. Nov 28, 2023 at 23:56
  • 1
    These aren't right. They're not grammatical. Where did you find the example sentences?
    – Billy Kerr
    Nov 29, 2023 at 11:16
  • I found these sentences in chapter 25, "reporting with passives; It is said that..." from the book called "Advanced Grammar in Use"
    – Omen
    Nov 30, 2023 at 2:22

3 Answers 3


The meaning is simply the difference between "expect" and "intend". "Expect" is a prediction. "Intend" implies a plan.

Your use of "It" is not correct. You need a proper subject here "The company expects to employ" or "It is expected that the company will employ..."

  • I agree with your criticism of the original texts, even if it was not solicited. Nov 29, 2023 at 8:50
  • 2
    Or maybe "The factory is intended for 500 employees", meaning you might run into logistics issues if you try to operate the factory with less than 500 employees or if you try to cram more than 500 people in the building.
    – Stef
    Nov 29, 2023 at 12:55

[1] It is expected to employ 500 people in the factory.

[2] It is intended to employ 500 people in the factory.

This is likely to be about a new plant or company.

[1] means people think/believe the plant/company will employ 500 people in the factory.

[2] is not natural. On the other hand, if we say

[2a] It intends to employ 500 people in the factory.

then it means the plant/company plans/hopes/targets to employ 500 people in the factory.

Back to your interpretation of [1], is expected is different from hopes:

This team is expected to lose the match.

does not mean it hopes to lose the match.

  • 3
    I don't know why someone downvoted this. It looks fine to me. Nov 28, 2023 at 14:03
  • 5
    @FumbleFingers My guess is someone felt it didn't address the vague subject problem, but that's not what the question was about, and this answer addresses the actual question nicely.
    – barbecue
    Nov 28, 2023 at 17:01
  • 3
    @barbecue: oic. Well, obviously Seowjooheng has addressed it, so far as is justifiable, with [2] is not natural, followed by a valid version of the utterance. Which is quite sufficient, given that the substance of the question seems to be the difference between expect and intend (with what I think is a very succinct illustration of why expect and hope aren't always interchangeable, even though it might often seem that they are). Not that there's anything wrong with James's answer, but more than half of it is concerned with that peripheral issue. Nov 28, 2023 at 17:19
  • 1
    I just realised there’s rather an important word missing in my first comment: it should say, “… and impersonal ‘It is intended to [do X]’ is at best highly unidiomatic”. The specification to impersonal constructions was crucial: passives like these do not idiomatically support it-extrapositioning (with to-infinitives as subject), but can of course work when it is a semantic subject. Nov 29, 2023 at 11:10
  • 1
    @JanusBahsJacquet Ah. I see the objection. I misread, and concede the point.
    – J D
    Nov 29, 2023 at 13:55

At the level of that Question, there is no relevant difference.

It would be more meaningful to switch either from 'It is expected/intended to employ 500 people in the factory' to the rather different 'It is expected/intended that 500 people (might/will) be employed in the factory.' Does that much make sense?

Only after that, the first might mean the factory hopes and the second that the factory has a plan to hire 500 people, but any real certainty would depend on more details than were Posted.

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