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ESL go.com's Harry Potter "House Elves" free online grammar class: passive modals

We often use passive modals when we want to give our opinion on something. An example:

"I dont't think that eye should be allowed." (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Parvati talking about Moody's magical eye)

As you can see, passive modals consist of a modal (should, shouldn't, ought to, etc.) + be + past participle (allowed, abolished, etc.). Remember that passive modals are used to express opinions, not facts.

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Hermoine wants to free house-elves. See if you can complete the sentences about her opinions using the passive modal (the modal verb has been supplied) of the verb in parentheses.

Hermoine thinks house-elves should (free).

Hermoine thinks house-elves shouldn't (enslave).

We use passive modals because someone other than the house-elves must perform the action of freeing or enslaving. We're not talking about the house-elves doing something themselves; we're talking about someone doing something for the house-elves.

You can try another ESl go class, Passive modals 2, or you can start practicing your English on the Harry Potter forum. If you don't want to talk about Harry Potter, try one of the other free English practice message boards. Don't be afraid to use the forums. The only way to improve your English is to practice with other people!