Here supposition is used as a noun. How can I transform this sentence using "suppose" as a verb?

It seems a reasonable supposition.

  • 4
    It seems reasonable to suppose that you could come up with a way to do this, if you think about it a little.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 19:51
  • 1
    @HotLicks One could reasonably suppose that you are quite a comedian. Commented May 13, 2020 at 20:58
  • @RichardKayser - My wife doesn't think so.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 21:17
  • @HotLicks Better luck next time! Commented May 13, 2020 at 23:10
  • 2
    You're right @HotLicks. 💖 I didn't think of it that way. Commented May 13, 2020 at 23:21

3 Answers 3


Simple exercise

I will alter the words of the sentence as little as possible.

Before (noun):

It seems a reasonable supposition.

After (verb):

They supposed something reasonably.


To address a comment, I am providing a detailed analysis of the wording I chose.

My interpretation here is based on the second sense of supposition:

2 : the act of supposing

In other words, I take it to mean it was the enactment that was reasonable.

As such, I extrapolate back to the act actually being performed, and I replace the adjective reasonable with the adverb reasonably.

I am deliberately describing how somebody supposed the thing.

Here are the events in chronological order as I see them, put alongside an analogous sentence using the same interpretation.

As it happened in front of spectators:

They supposed something reasonably.
He read the story thoughtfully.

Spectator commentary on the event:

It seems a reasonable supposition.
It seems a thoughtful reading.

  • 1
    On a default reading, this says that their reasoning powers were pretty sound, not that the supposition is one a reasonable person might assume. It's also not too idiomatic: not always fatal, but when twinned with ambiguity, it's better avoided. 'It seems reasonable to suppose' is also not very idiomatic, but is unambiguous. Commented May 14, 2020 at 13:54
  • @EdwinAshworth Supposition: "2 : the act of supposing." (It seems a reasonable [act of supposing].) Commented May 14, 2020 at 14:01
  • Relevance? 'They reasonably supposed that ...' tells us something about the reasonableness of the act of supposing mentioned in the first instance. 'It seems a reasonable supposition that' highlights the plausibility of what is supposed rather than the proficiency of the judgement. Commented May 14, 2020 at 14:10
  • @EdwinAshworth I have now expanded my answer considerably in order to explain exactly why I chose the wording I did, and what it means. Commented May 14, 2020 at 14:36
  • Doubtless sense (1) of supposition from the anonymous dictionary is 'something assumed'; the only definition of 'reasonable assumption' I have found gives the illustration 'It is a reasonable supposition that many mothers would welcome the offer of part time work.' [TheAcademicLawDictionary] which obviously tallies with the default definition. Commented May 14, 2020 at 15:19

Is suppose anything but a verb? Mind you, verbs are being increasingly used as nouns - e.g. you are a total fail - and in that way we could say it was a false suppose on my part.


Your verb here is seems, so you need to retain that somehow to keep the sense. Let's try this . . .

Before: It seems a reasonable supposition. (supposition is a noun)

After: It seems reasonably supposed. (seems supposed is a passive verb construction)

  • While I guess this is technically correct, it appears to take away from the spirit of the question, which focuses on suppose, not seem. Here, suppose is not being used as an active verb in any way—and it could be argued it's used an an adjectival sense. Commented May 14, 2020 at 21:22
  • @JasonBassford: In seems supposed, seem is an auxiliary verb and suppose is a main verb — best of both worlds with respect to the original meaning. And we don't know who did the supposing, hence the passive verb construction. I think would be a long stretch to conjure an adjectival reading of supposed here. Commented May 14, 2020 at 21:54
  • No, not necessarily. You can interpret it that way, but it's definitely ambiguous. When you say It is composed, it does not have to mean that it was composed by someone. It can refer to the actual state of something. In the same way, supposed can be adjectival. This isn't even a stretch. Look at the definition of supposed as an adjective, meaning alleged or believed. (It is a supposed truth that …) With the primary emphasis the verb seem, your sentence is too ambiguous to be a good example of what was asked for. Commented May 14, 2020 at 22:26
  • Supposed as an attributive adjective is normal. That is the only use demonstrated in the OED — for one. Otherwise, it's a verb. Commented May 14, 2020 at 23:03
  • There is no such thing as an attributive adjective. There are attributive nouns and verbs that act adjectively. In this case, supposed actually is an adjective. The fact that it's spelled the same when the verb is used in the past just means that the word, as spelled, can be taken to mean two different things if you look at it differently. (In other words, as in this case, it's ambiguous.) But the adjective supposed is an actual, real adjective, as any dictionary will attest to. Commented May 14, 2020 at 23:16

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