Modal verb forms in the dynamic passive

(Passive with ‘werden’ of modal verbs in German grammar)

Table of contents – dynamic passive of modal verbs

On this page you will find the following:

  1. Dynamic passive with modal verbs
  2. Verb forms of modal verbs
  3. Further explanations and exercises

What is the rule for the dynamic passive formation of modal verbs?

Apart from the indicative and subjunctive (in particular, the Konjunktiv) forms, the dynamic passive can also be formed with modal verbs, such as ‘dürfen’ (may), ‘können’ (can), ‘mögen’ (like), ‘sollen’ (should), ‘wollen’ (want), ‘müssen’ (must). To do so, the modal verb, the auxiliary verbwerden’ and the respective past participle of the full verb are required. Compare the following overview showing the formation of the dynamic passive forms with modal verbs:

Modal verb forms of the dynamic passive

The table illustrates examples of the different forms of modal verbs in the active voice and the dynamic passive voice:

  • Note: Consider that the translations reflect the meaning only approximately, as the modal verbs always have a subjective character.
Tense Active voice Dynamic passive
Präsens (present) Die Sängerin soll das Lied singen. (The singer shall sing the song.) Das Lied soll gesungen werden. (The song shall be sung.)
Perfekt (perfect) Die Sängerin hat das Lied singen können. (The singer has been able to sing the song.) Das Lied hat gesungen werden können. (The song has been able to be sung.)
Präteritum (preterite) Die Sängerin durfte das Lied singen. (The singer was allowed to sing the song.) Das Lied durfte gesungen werden. (The song was allowed to be sung.)
Plusquamperfekt (pluperfect) Die Sängerin hatte das Lied singen dürfen. (The singer had been allowed to sing the song.) Das Lied hatte gesungen werden dürfen. (The song had been allowed to be sung.)
Futur 1 (future) Die Sängerin wird das Lied singen müssen. (The singer will have to sing the song.) Das Lied wird gesungen werden müssen. (The song will have to be sung.)
Futur 2 (future perfect) Die Sängerin wird das Lied gesungen haben müssen. (The singer will have had to sing the song.) Das Lied wird gesungen worden sein müssen. (The song will have had to be sung.)

Further explanations referring to the ‘Dynamic passive of modal verbs’

The following explanations are related to the topic ‘Forms of modal verbs in the dynamic passive voice in German grammar’ and might also be interesting: