Lesson Nine

Past Modal Verbs in the Passive Voice

(past modal verb) + have + been + past participle

Many modal verbs have a past tense form. Here are some of them.
Past Tense Form
shall / should
is going to
was/were going to
(be) able to
was/were able to
have to
had to

Pancakes can be made on a stove.

They could have been made in the oven, but they wouldn’t have turned out so good.

(past possibility)


1. Bikes may be ridden on this bike path.

2. Earlier, these bikes might have been taken through the streets of Minneapolis.

  1. permission is given)
  2. possibiity
bike riders

Flowers will be grown in my garden again this summer.

Corn would have been grown last summer, but corn stalks take up too much space.


Her work has to be done by tomorrow or she’ll get in trouble with her boss.

Originally, It had to have been done by yesterday, but her boss gave her extra time to finish it.


Something should be done about global warming or else some types of penguins will perish from the earth.

Something should have been done many years ago but wasn’t.


A lot of cows can be raised on a productive farm.

Corn could have been raised instead, but this farmer decided to grow grass. He’s a smart farmer!

Remember: Modal verbs in the past tense describe something that was or wasn’t done. What makes the use of modal verbs so difficult in these examples is that they’re being used in the passive voice.

Click here to take a quiz.


If you are confused, you might need to review perfect modal verbs click here. (Yellow Level)


Next: Lesson Ten