A. Study this example situation:
Henry is very old. Nobody knows exactly how old he is, but:
It is said that he is 108 years old. or He is said to be 108 years old.
Both these sentences mean: ‘People say that he is 108 years old.’
You can use these structures with a number of other verbs, especially:
thought believed considered reported known expected alleged understood
Compare the two structures:
* Cathy works very hard.
It is said that she works 16 hours a day. or She is said to work 16 hours a day.
* The police are looking for a missing boy.
It is believed that the boy is wearing a or white pullover and blue jeans. The boy is believed to be wearing a white pullover and blue jeans.
* The strike started three weeks ago.
It is expected that it will end soon. or The strike is expected to end soon
* A friend of mine has been arrested.
It is alleged that he kicked a policeman. or He is alleged
to have kicked a policeman.
* Those two houses belong to the same family.
It is said that there is a secret tunnel between them. There is said to be a secret tunnel between them.
These structures are often used in news reports. For example, in a report about an accident:
* It is reported that two people were injured in the explosion. or Two people are reported to have been injured in the explosion.
B. (Be) supposed to
Sometimes it is supposed to… = it is said to…
* Let’s go and see that film. It’s supposed to be very good. (= it is said to be very good)
* ‘Why was he arrested?’ ‘He’s supposed to have kicked a policeman.’ (= he is said to have kicked a policeman)
But sometimes supposed to has a different meaning. ‘Something is supposed to happen’ = it is planned, arranged or expected. Often this is different from what really happens:
* I’d better hurry. It’s nearly 8 o’clock and I’m supposed to be meeting Ann at 8.15. (= I have arranged to meet Ann, I said I would meet her)
* The train was supposed to arrive at 11.30 but it was an hour late. (= the train was
Expected to arrive at 11.30 according to the timetable)
* You were supposed to clean the windows. Why didn’t you do it?
‘You’re not supposed to do something’ = it is not allowed or advisable for you to do it:
* You’re not supposed to park your car here. It’s private parking only.
* Mr. Bond is much better after his illness but he’s still not supposed to do any heavy work. (= his doctors have advised him not to…)