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Luxembourgish Lessons #32: The Passive Voice, Ep. VII: Modal Verbs

Welcome to number thirty-two of the Luxembourgish lessons, which will discuss how the passive voice works when used with modal verbs.

Recommended Lessons


Modal Verbs and Passive Infinitives

I first discussed modal verbs back in lesson #17, which involved a modal verb (mussen, sollen, däerfen, etc.) and an infinitive. This construction remains the case in the passive voice.

This would be a good time to discuss the passive infinitive, which is made up of two components: a past participle and the infinitive ginn. As such, the passive infinitive of the verb iessen (to eat) for example should be imagined as giess ginn (to be eaten). This construction (as far as I know) is inseparable and should be treated like a normal active infinitive.

Below is a full conjugation of the passive infinitive gewielt ginn, formed from the verb wielen (to choose), and the modal verb wëllen (to want):

That first demonstration is an example of the present passive infinitive. However there is also the perfect passive infinitive ¹. The perfect passive infinitive is formed with a past participle, the past participle of ginn, and the auxiliary verb sinn (to be). Looking at iessen again, its perfect passive infinitive would be giess gi sinn (to have been eaten).

Quick Notes

¹ These also applies to the active voice. Using the verb iessen, the present active and perfect active infinitives would be iessen (to eat) and giess hunn (to have eaten).


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April 2, 2017

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