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Sensé(e) or Censé(e)?

The adjectives sensé(e) and censé(e) are easy to confuse, since they have the same pronunciation and almost the same spelling (in other words, they're homophones). Sensé(e) is related to the English word "sense," and means "sensible," "reasonable," or "sane": 

 

J'étais face à trois personnes que je considérais comme étant parfaitement sensées.

I was facing three people whom I considered to be perfectly sane.

Captions 80-81, Le Jour où tout a basculé - Notre appartement est hanté - Part 5

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Censé(e) might remind you of the words "census," "censor," or "censure," but it means something quite different. It's the word for "supposed," as in "supposed to do something." Just like "supposed to," it's nearly always preceded by the verb "to be" (être) and followed by an infinitive: 
 

On est censé... faire réparer des objets qui ont quelques problèmes.

We're supposed to... bring items that have some problems for repair.

Caption 2, Actus Quartier - Repair Café

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On était censé n'avoir aucun souci, avoir des centrales complètement fiables.

They were supposed to have no concerns, to have totally reliable power plants.

Caption 25, Manif du Mois - Fukushima plus jamais ça

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Alors que la police, elle est censée être là pour nous protéger.

While the police are supposed to be there to protect us.

Caption 14, Banlieues françaises - jeunes et policiers, l'impossible réconciliation? - Part 2

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You can always say supposé(e) instead of censé(e), which might be a little easier to remember:

 

...son fameux pont qui était supposé être un lieu où [on] profitait de beaux panoramas.

...its famous bridge, which was supposed to be a place where you enjoy beautiful panoramas.

Captions 26-27, De nouvelles découvertes avec Marion - Le parc des Buttes Chaumont

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Or you can use the verb devoir, especially in the past tense:

 

...bien qu'elle se demanda en quoi cela devait l'aider à se rendre au bal.

...although she wondered in what way that was supposed to help her get to the ball.

Captions 47-48, Contes de fées - Cendrillon - Part 1

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Whichever version of "supposed to" you use is perfectly sensé!

Vocabulary

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