Be Allowed to, Be Supposed to, Be Able to
Hi English learners. Welcome to a new lesson. We will discuss the use of semi-modal verbs be allowed to, be supposed to, be able to.
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Be allowed to
We use the semi-modal verb be allowed to to express permission to do something. It is much more flexible than real modal verbs such as can, could and may (used for giving permission, as well), so we can use it in all verb forms.
- We are allowed to swim in the hotel swimming pool at night. Isn’t that amazing?
- The children are not allowed to stay outside after 10.
- That criminal shouldn’t be allowed to get away with that.
- Excuse me, am I allowed to take pictures here?
- After we showed the tickets, we were allowed to enter the stadium.
- The factory will no longer be allowed to pollute the city with black smoke.
Be supposed to
We use be supposed to to say that someone is expected to be or do something.
- We are supposed to be at work by 8 every morning. We are not supposed to be late.
- You are not supposed to flash your car lights at other vehicles.
- The shops are not supposed to sell alcohol and cigarettes to children.
- The police officers are supposed to exercise in the gym three times a week.
- Where are we supposed to hand in the tests?
- The film is supposed to be good because it’s been awarded.
Be able to
We use be able to to express permission to be or do something. We can use the modal verb can in the present tense and could in the past but for all other verb forms, use be able to.
- He wasn’t able to walk after the operation.
- Do you think you‘ll be able to write that report by Monday?
- The candidates for this position must be able to speak English fluently.
- I haven’t been able to visit my grandma all week. I’m too busy.
- Sophia will be able to come to the party if her flight is on time.
- Martha was hoping that her friends would be able to help her with the visa.
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