In the previous four High English quizzes, we looked at what constitutes sentences in active and passive voices and also how passive voice is affected by different tenses. In earlier quizzes we looked at modal verbs. In this quiz we take a look at sentences in the passive voice containing modal verbs.
In construction of appropriate sentences, many times we are stumped because we can not find the right word. This is where modals come in. We use verbs according to the requirements of the actions that we want to describe. We know that the main verb describes the action but modals are helping verbs, helping to improve the sentence by communicating much more than the main verb alone. Modal verbs normally precede the main verb and provide additional information about the function of the main verb. In a sentence, the modals cannot stand by themselves and always appear with a main verb.
There are only a few modals that are used as helping verbs. Here they are:
Modal verbs are used in a particular way in sentences in passive voice. The form is similar to the form it acquires in respect of other verbs. The general rule for sentences using modals in passive voice is:
‘Object + may, must, can, could, ought to, should + be + past participle of main verb (third form)’ in an affirmative sentence.
Just as in other cases, when the sentence is in question form, the modal appears first:
‘Must, may, can, should, might + object + be + past participle of main verb (third form).’
Negative sentences take the same form with ‘not’ inserted in between the modal and the main verb.
Passive voice for modals in present and future tenses take this form:
‘modal + be + past participle.’ For instance, ‘Alcohol should not be consumed by children’ is a sentence following the ‘be’ form.
Passive voice for modals in past tense takes this form:
‘modal + have been + past participle.’ For instance, ‘Automobiles should have been driven only by people older than the age of eighteen’ is a sentence following the ‘have been’ form.
Modals are a bit tricky, but can be mastered with practise. The quiz that follows helps you to understand modals better.