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Grammar 58 - Modals with Passive
"Could mount Everest be climbed by him?" - This sentence is a passive sentence in present tense in question form.

Grammar 58 - Modals with Passive

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:

CAN
COULD
MAY
MIGHT
WILL
WOULD
MUST
SHALL
SHOULD
OUGHT TO

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.

1.
"The opportunity _____________________ by you."
Complete the sentence in passive voice, and in past tense by filling up the blank choosing from the following modal forms.
not may have been availed
may not have availed
may not be availed
may not have been availed
Remember, the form for using modals in negative past passive voice is 'object + modal + not + have been + past participle of main verb'
2.
"It is doubtful that astrologers in India can tell the future."
Transform this sentence into a passive sentence in present tense in question form. Choose from the following options.
It is doubtful that the future can be tells by astrologers in India.
It is doubtful that the future can be telling by astrologers in India.
It is doubtful that the future can be tell by astrologers in India.
It is doubtful that the future can be told by astrologers in India.
In an affirmative sentence in present/future tense, the passive voice with modals takes the form ‘object + modal (may, must, can, could, ought to, should) + be + past participle of main verb (third form).’ 'Told', the past participle of 'tell' and 'be' are used as per the form the passive voice takes with modal 'can.' the other options do not use the past participle of 'tell'
3.
"Could he climb Mount Everest?"
Transform this sentence into a passive sentence in present tense in question form. Choose from the following options.
Could mount Everest have been climbed by him?
Could mount Everest be climb by him?
Could mount Everest be climbed by him?
Could mount Everest be climbing by him?
In question form in present tense, the passive voice with modals takes the form ‘modal (may, must, might, can, could, ought to, should) + object + be + past participle of main verb (third form).’ 'Climbed', the past participle of 'climb', and 'be' are used as per the form the passive voice takes with modal 'could.' Option 1 is in the past tense. The other options do not use the past participle of 'climb'
4.
"The students must complete the test in one hour."
Transform this sentence into a passive sentence in present tense. Choose from the following options.
The test must be completed by the students in one hour.
The test must be complete by the students in one hour.
The test must be completing by the students in one hour.
The test must be completes by the students in one hour.
In an affirmative sentence in present/future tense, the passive voice with modals takes the form ‘object + modal (may, must, can, could, ought to, should) + be + past participle of main verb (third form).’ 'Completed', the past participle of 'complete' and 'be' are used as per the form the passive voice takes with modal 'must.' The other options do not use the past participle of 'complete'
5.
"That judge might have sentenced the accused to rigorous imprisonment."
Transform this sentence into a passive sentence in past tense in question form. Choose from the following options.
Might the accused be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment by that judge?
Might have been the accused sentenced to rigorous imprisonment by that judge?
Might the accused have been sentenced to rigorous imprisonment by that judge?
Might have the accused been sentenced to rigorous imprisonment by that judge?
In question form in past tense, the passive voice with modals takes the form ‘modal (may, must, might, can, could, ought to, should) + object + have been + past participle of main verb (third form).’ 'Sentenced', the past participle of 'sentence', and 'have been' are used as per the form the passive voice takes with modal 'might.' Option 1 is in the present tense. The other options do not use 'have been' in between the object and the past participle of the main verb
6.
"Problems with policies ________________ to the customer service manager."
Complete the sentence in passive voice, and in present tense by filling up the blank choosing from the following modal forms.
should reported
should have been reported
should be reported
be should reported
Remember, the form for using modals in present passive voice is 'object + modal + be + past participle of main verb.'
7.
"The driver ought to have driven the car on the left side of the road in India."
Transform this sentence into a passive sentence in past tense. Choose from the following options.
The car ought to be driven by the driver on the left side of the road in India.
The car ought to have been driven by the driver on the left side of the road in India.
The car ought to have been drive by the driver on the left side of the road in India.
The car ought to have been driving by the driver on the left side of the road in India.
In an affirmative sentence in past tense, the passive voice with modals takes the form ‘object + modal (may, must, might, can, could, ought to, should) + have been + past participle of main verb (third form).’ 'Driven', the past participle of 'drive' and 'have been' are used as per the form the passive voice takes with modal 'ought to.' Option 1 is in the present tense. The other options do not use the past participle of 'drive'
8.
"Should the book ________ read by him?"
Complete the sentence in passive voice, and in past tense by filling up the blank choosing from the following modal forms.
have been
be
have
been
Remember, the form for using modals in past passive voice in question form is 'modal + object + have been + past participle of main verb'
9.
"Our Training Manager may give a talk on teamwork."
Transform this sentence into a passive sentence in present/future tense. Choose from the following options.
A talk on teamwork may be given by our Training Manager.
A talk on teamwork may be give by our Training Manager.
A talk on teamwork may be giving by our Training Manager.
A talk on teamwork may be gives by our Training Manager.
In an affirmative sentence in present/future tense, the passive voice with modals takes the form ‘object + modal (may, must, can, could, ought to, should) + be + past participle of main verb (third form).’ 'Given', the past participle of 'give' and 'be' are used as per the form the passive voice takes with modal 'may.' The other options do not use the past participle of 'give'
10.
"Students should copy the lessons taught by the class teacher."
Transform this sentence into a passive sentence in present/future tense. Choose from the following options.
The lessons taught by the teacher should be copies by the students.
The lessons taught by the teacher should be copying by the students.
The lessons taught by the teacher should be copy by the students.
The lessons taught by the teacher should be copied by the students.
In an affirmative sentence in present/future tense, the passive voice with modals takes the form ‘object + modal (may, must, can, could, ought to, should) + be + past participle of main verb (third form).’ 'Copied', the past participle of 'copy' and 'be' are used as per the form the passive voice takes with modal 'should.' The other options do not use the past participle of 'copy'
Author:  V T Narendra

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