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The Passive Form Of Modal Auxiliaries

The passive voice of modal auxiliaries is formed by the modal + be + past participle. This formation can be used to express the present and future tenses.

  • The door can’t be opened.
  • Children should be taught how to read poetry.
  • This package ought to be sent by tomorrow.
  • Fred has to be told about the meeting.
  • Jason was supposed to be informed about the changes.

With some modals, the future tense is expressed with the auxiliary will.

  • Fred will have to be told about the meeting.

The past tense of certain modal auxiliaries in the passive voice is formed by the modal + have been + past participle.

  • The letter should have been sent yesterday!
  • This car must have been stolen two months ago.
  • Andrew ought to have been told about the meeting.

With other modal auxiliaries, the past tense of the modal is used together with to be + past participle.

  • Fred had to be told about the meeting.
  • The door couldn’t be opened.

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