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I have a question regarding expressions like these:

  • The new Al Pacino movie is supposed to be a good movie.
  • Asians are not supposed to be good ball players.
  • Whale is supposed to be the smartest animal on Earth.

Are supposed to and considered to identical in meaning, or do they have different meanings altogether?

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I see the difference as of emphasis: "supposed to be" emphasizes one's own lack of conclusive evidence, "considered to be" emphasizes that the claim is an opinion of others. –  isturdy Dec 3 '12 at 14:31
    
Related deleted question: english.stackexchange.com/questions/92510/… –  coleopterist Dec 3 '12 at 16:34
    
possible duplicate of "supposed to" or "suppose to"? Answers to that question distinguish the two senses of supposed to: "considered/assumed to" and "expected/obliged to". –  StoneyB Dec 3 '12 at 17:16
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

"Is supposed to be," in the context you have given, implies some skepticism, meaning, you are not vouching for this. When you say, "is considered to be", it implies an argument in favor, as if you view the general consensus to be a reliable source.

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Supposed to be - You know this as some people's guess. Maybe you and these people already know that this guess is wrong.

Considered to be - You know this is the opinion of some group. You could disagree, but you should believe that they are/were sure. (Until you are fair in your discussion)

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