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The whole point that him pretending to be rich is to get a date.

The whole point of this supposing to be a big wall is to hold off the barbarians.

The first one seems correct, the second one doesn't sound quite right - but why wouldn't it be possible to use the equivalent forms here?

I was thinking about

The point of this supposedly being a big wall...

but that clearly does't mean the same thing.

I am aware that one could say "The point of this being a big wall" even if the wall is not yet big, yet that doesn't seem to work in all cases.

The whole point of this supposing to be a macro is that it shouldn't matter where it is located.

This is the sentence I actually want to construct. I don't want to say "the whole point of this being a macro...", because that would too strongly imply that it is or should be thought of as one. Instead, the idea that it is supposed to be a macro is first raised, and then dismissed.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

The phrase is "to be supposed to". The phrase is not "supposing to", or "to be supposing to", or any variation thereof. When something is supposed to be a macro, it's not supposing to be a macro. It is not doing the supposing itself. It is supposed, by someone else, to be a macro.

The head verb of the phrase "to be supposed " is "to be". You are looking for a present-participle form of that, which is "being". Thus, you are looking for

The whole point of this being supposed to be a macro is...

And yes, that's clumsy, but it's grammatical, and hey, you get what you ask for. Me, I would rewrite from scratch. But at that point it becomes a question of style, not grammar.

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I don't think that the first sentence (The whole point that him pretending to be rich is to get a date) is so correct either.

IMO, it should be modified into The whole point of his pretending to be rich is to get a date, and I hope that RegDwight or one of the other knowledgeable people around here could confirm.

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FWIW I concur; but it doesn't actually answer the question. –  Andrew Leach May 6 '12 at 23:01
2  
@AndrewLeach. You're absolutely right. However, Miracle2K considered the first sentence correct, whereas RegDwight concentrated his reply on the second part of the text and didn't mention what came before, so I thought I could contribute by amending that sentence. I don't think I could add anything to the answer RegDwight has posted. –  Paola May 6 '12 at 23:33
    
Aha. I understand. There's not enough information in the timestamps to differentiate which came first. (It wasn't my downvote though!) –  Andrew Leach May 6 '12 at 23:37
2  
@AndrewLeach. Thank you for saying so. I still haven't got used to the feeling of being "criticized" by means of anonymous downvoting. –  Paola May 6 '12 at 23:42

The active verb "suppose" means something like "think", "believe" or "assume" and is only ever used of rational beings. It cannot be used of the thing supposed.

The passive "is supposed to" has idiomatic meanings "should", and sometimes "is reputed to", and does not require there to be a supposer.

The participle "supposing" can be used absolutely, without a person as the subject, but the construction is always "Supposing that ..., then ..."

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