A: It gets really hot when I use it for a couple of hours.
Is it supposed to do this? (is it supposed to do like that?)
B: No, it's not supposed to do that, but it can if you use it in direct sunlight.

My question is, is it possible to switch "Is it supposed to do that?" to "Is it supposed to do like that?" and is the latter natural to say? If it isn't, would it be a grammatical problem?

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  • 2
    no, it is not natural at all.
    – Esther
    Jun 22 at 15:36
  • why? I don't see any grammatical problem in that sentence. Jun 22 at 15:46
  • you do an action, you are in a state. You could say "Is it supposed to be like that"? because "like that" is a state something can be in, but it is not an action. "that" is an action, that of becoming hot.
    – Esther
    Jun 22 at 15:47
  • It is possible for a sentence to be grammatical but not "natural sounding" Jun 22 at 15:47
  • 1
    to be specific: if I heard a sentence like that, I would immediately think the speaker is a non-native English speaker, since it is the kind of mistake only non-native speakers make.
    – Esther
    Jun 22 at 15:48

1 Answer 1


Do needs an object.

In "Is it supposed to do that?" that is the object. In your example, it's actually a demonstrative pronoun for "the act of getting hot."

In "Is it supposed to do like that?" like that can't be an object; the like is forcing a comparison between something and that. The "something" is the act of getting hot; and again that is a demonstrative pronoun, this time for "the act of getting hot in the way in which it does".

So you need a noun to be the object of do. It could simply be the word something.

Is it supposed to do something like that?

If you want to use an intransitive verb so you don't need an object, you could use behave (in your example):

Is it supposed to behave like that?

All of that said, the most idiomatic sentence is definitely the shortest:

Is it supposed to do that?

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