Understanding Passiv when used with Modal Verbs

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Ok, so just when I thought I was getting the hang of passiv, my German instructor throws in modal verbs. I know, I know, I should probably be asking him the following question, but his idea of "teaching" is yelling at us for not understanding. <_< Soooo...

 

Why does the helping verb change from sein back into haben when adding a model verb in a passive sentence? Here are the examples:

 

Perfekt:

Das Fenster ist geöffnet worden.

Das Fenster hat geöffnet werden müssen.

 

Plusquamperfekt:

Das Fenster war geöffnet worden.

Das Fenster hatte geöffnet werden müssen.

 

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help!

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Why does the helping verb change from sein back into haben when adding a model verb in a passive sentence?

 

The way I see it is that the verb that drives the structure now is the modal (ie. takes "haben"). Same thing for modals in past konjunktiv, whether active or passive.

 

This is the sort of thing that is often confusing at the start but will embed over time :).

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Not very helpful of me but Ami´s sentence " Das Fenster hatte geöffnet werden müssen "...erm...shouldn´t that be " hätte " etc? To make it " should have been..". Just to make life even more complicated...

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As far as I see it...

 

You are using the "ist"/"sein" because the verb "werden" is conjugated with "sein" when put into the perfekt tense. This is the case when it is used in a passive sentence or not.

 

(Present) Das Fenster werde geoeffnet ---> (Imperfekt)Das Fenster wurde geoeffnet ---> (Perfekt)Das Fenster ist geoffnet worden.

 

You are only changing the tense of the verb "werden" for each sentence. Why does "werden" take "sein"? Because any German verb which is indicating motion or changing state, takes "sein" in the perfekt. For example: Ich bin gefahren, or: Er ist gegangen. "werden"(to become) is changing state, and so it takes sein. All that is happening in a passive sentence is that the verb "werden" is being put into the past.

 

But when you have a passive sentence with a modal verb, you are not changing the verb "werden" because it is not in the second position in the sentence. Muessen is in this position and now it has to be changed. Muessen is not a verb of motion or changing state, and so it is conjugated with "haben".

 

E.g. Das Fenster muss geoeffnet werden ---> Das Fenster musste geoffnet werden ---> Das Fenster hat geoeffnet werden muessen.

 

It's the same for a lot of other verbs. Ich habe gegessen. Er hat mich gefragt.

 

It's really a question of how to put the verb into the past tense, and how German verbs can be put into the perfekt in two ways, with sein or with haben.

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the whole thing makes no sense..

 

"haben" is not a modalverb. it is a hilfsverb which is used to build the Perfekt, Plusquamperfekt, Futur and Passiv.

 

"Das Fenster hätte geöffnet werden sollen" is not a Passiv either. It is a Konjunktiv.

 

You should look for some other instructor.. good luck with that.

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Not very helpful of me but Ami´s sentence " Das Fenster hatte geöffnet werden müssen "...erm...shouldn´t that be " hätte " etc? To make it " should have been..". Just to make life even more complicated...

 

to which the reply was

 

 

I can't get my brain around it right now, but yes, john, I think it should be "hätte".

 

so there is the Konjunktiv. and yes, I made a mistake, I wrote sollen instead of müssen. doesn't change much though. the sentence " Das Fenster hatte geöffnet werden müssen" is gramatically incorrect and makes no sense.

 

 

Yeah but haben muessen ist a modalverb in the perfekt tense

 

müssen is a modalverb, not haben.

 

funny topic for a friday evening..:=

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Daniel,

I'm afraid I don't get what you mean :)

Can you elaborate? both your question and how it is that you come to the opinion that haben müssen is a modalverb in Perfekt?

 

the only thing I was stating is that haben is not a modalverb while müssen is.

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I just mean that haben muessen is simply muessen in the past tense...so it is still the verb muessen, isn't it? And so it is still a modal verb? Like the English verb went is still the verb to go, just that it is in the past? :)

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Perfekt:

Das Fenster ist geöffnet worden = the window has been opend

Das Fenster hat geöffnet werden müssen = the window had to be opened

 

Plusquamperfekt:

Das Fenster war geöffnet worden = the window had been opened

Das Fenster hatte geöffnet werden müssen =the window has had to be opened

 

Do you see the difference?

 

1.) öffnen in the passive becomes geöffnet

2.) in the Perfekt the German use is "ist ... geworden"

3.) the sentence "Das Fenster hat geöffnet werden müssen" has a totally different meaning. Someone had to open the window, maybe he or she thought "now I must open the window". To translate the German word "müssen" into English by using "must" is not always appropriate, the English speaker prefers the construction of "have to" which is also easier used in the past tense than "must".

 

Plusquamperfekt

1.) "war geöffnet worden": can you see the reason how ist geöffnet worden has to be changed into this? the present tense ist...worden simply becomes war...geworden

2.)similarly "hat...müssen" in the Perfekt becomes "hatte...müssen" to form the Plusquamperfekt.

 

Ah well, Deutsches Sprack schweres Sprack!

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Wow, thanks everyone for the responses! swimmer and ceogero's explanations make the most sense to me. I never stopped to think that müssen was determining the verb change. :)

 

@john g. and westwan - I don't think hätte is correct, as I'm only using plusquamperfekt (which is formed by the simple past of sein or haben and the Partizip II).

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What is the difference in meaning between the below 2 sentences? 

I don't understand the difference between Konjunktiv 2 in the past with modal verbs and modal verbs in Präteritum. 

 

Dieses Problem hätte gestern gelöst werden müssen.

Dieses Problem musste gestern gelöst werden.

 

Thanks in advance for the replies.

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The first one: the problem should have been solved yesterday but wasn’t

 

The second one: the problem had to be solved yesterday and probably was

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My understanding is:

Dieses Problem hätte gestern gelöst werden müssen.  = This problem should have been solved yesterday (meaning - it actually didn't get solved, so the sentence has a kind of negative meaning.

 

Dieses Problem musste gestern gelöst werden.  = This problem had to be solved yesterday (a relatively neutral statement, not really clearly stating whether the problem was actually solved or not, but rather on the positive side. Something like: "We could not wait for a solution until today - it had to be solved yesterday").

 

Cheers,

krakp

 

Edit: John beat me to it

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The difference is whether the problem has been solved. It hasn't in statement 1: "This problem should have been solved yesterday," but it has in statement 2: "This problem had to be solved yesterday."

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