May In Passive Voice: 5 Facts(When, How & Examples)


In English language, the verb “may” falls under the modal auxiliary verbs. Let us here find out how the verb “may”, can be changed in to the passive voice.

The Modal auxiliary verb “may” in passive voice, is used to denote the probability or possibility for an action or an event to happen or take place. It can also be used to denote a request or permission. The word “might” is nothing but the past tense of the modal verb “may”.

We will here explore the usage of the modal verbs “may” and “might” in passive voice with the help of interesting facts and examples.

When to use “may” in passive voice

There are a number of modal verbs, which are to be used in different situations. We shall discuss here when the modal “may” is used in passive voice.

The table below will give us an idea about when the modal “may” can be utilized in passive voice.

Usage of “may” in passive voiceExamples
1. When there is/ there is no probability or possibility of an action to happeni. Present / Future Tense
 
a. The project may be completed by today evening.
b. The project may have been completed by today evening.
 
ii. Past Tense
 
a. The project may have been completed by today evening.
b. The project may not have been completed by today evening.
2. When a request has to be made or a permission has to be askedMay the classes be attended by her tomorrow?
3. When a permission is granted or denieda. The classes may be attended by her tomorrow.
 
b. The classes may not be attended by her tomorrow.
When to use “may” in passive voice

How to use “may” in passive voice

There are particular ways in which the word “may”, should be used in the passive voice. Let us here discuss about how to use “may” in passive voice.

The word “may”, can be used in passive voice in the following ways.

UsesStructure to use “may” in passive voiceExamples
1. For probability / possibilitya. Subject + may + (not) + be + past participle of the verb + object + remaining part of the sentence.
b. Subject + may + have + (not) + been + past participle of the verb + object + remaining part of the sentence
a. Coding paper may (not) be handled by Miss. Riya.
 
b. Coding paper may (not) have been handled by Miss. Riya.
2. For request / permissionMay + subject + be + past participle of the verb + object + remaining part of the sentenceMay the ice cream be eaten by her?
3. For granting or denying permissiona. Subject + may + be + past participle of the verb + object + remaining part of the sentence
b. Subject + may + not + be + past participle of the verb + object + remaining part of the sentence
a. The ice cream may be eaten by her.
 
b. The ice cream may not be eaten by her.
How to use “may” in passive voice

Examples of “may” used in passive voice

Now that we already know how and when to use “may” in passive voice, we shall understand in detail about it, with the aid of few examples.

The table below consists of various example sentences in which “may” is used in passive voice.

Examples of “may” used in active voiceExamples of “may” used in passive voiceExplanations
1. You may clean the room.The room may be cleaned by you.Here the word “may” is used in passive voice along with “be” and “cleaned” (past participle of “clean”), to grant permission to “you” for cleaning the room.
2. Rohit may have visited us very soon.We may have been visited by Rohit very soon.Here, the word “may” is used in passive voice along with “have”, “been” and “visited”, to show the probability of Rohan visiting “us”.
3. May I have a cup of coffee?May a cup of coffee be had by me?Here, the word “may” is used in passive voice along with “be” and “had” (past participle of “have”) for requesting to have a cup of coffee.
4. Pooja may not buy this mobile phone.This mobile phone may not be bought by Pooja.In this sentence, the word “may” is used in passive voice along with “not”, “be” and “bought” (past participle of “buy”) to denote the possibility of Pooja not buying this mobile phone.
5. May I see the answer sheet?May the answer sheet be seen by me?Here, the word “may” is utilized in passive voice along with “be” and “seen” (past participle of “see”) for requesting or asking permission to see the answer sheet.
Examples of “may” used in passive voice

When to use “might” in passive voice?

The word “might” is one of the modal verbs in English language. Here let us find out when the word “might” is used in passive voice.

The word “might” is used nothing but the past tense of the modal verb “may”. The table below depicts the places when “might” can be used in passive voice.

Usage of “might” in passive voiceExamples
1. When there is/ there is no probability of an action to happeni. Present / Future Tense

a. Lunch might be prepared by the new cook.
b. Lunch might not be prepared by the new cook.

ii. Past Tense

a. Lunch might have been prepared by the new cook.
b. Lunch might not have been prepared by the new cook.
2. When a request is made or a permission is soughtMight the pencil be borrowed by her?
3. When permission is granted or denieda. The pencil might be borrowed by her.
b. The pencil might not be borrowed by her.
When to use “might” in passive voice?

Examples of “might” used in passive voice

The usage of “might” in passive voice can be better understood with the help of examples.

The table below consists of example sentences which have the modal verb “might” used in passive voice.

 Examples of “might” used in active voiceExamples of “might” used in passive voiceExplanations
1. Suraj might win the quiz competition.The quiz competition might be won by Suraj.In this sentence, the modal verb “might” is used in passive voice along with “be” and “won” (past participle of “win”) to denote the possibility or probability of Suraj winning the quiz competition.
2. Might I carry your luggage?Might your luggage be carried by me?Here, the modal “might” is utilized in passive voice along with “be” and “carried” (past participle of “carry”) for requesting or asking permission to carry the luggage.
3. Sahil might not attend the meeting today.The meeting might not be attended by Sahil today.In this sentence, the modal verb “might” is utilized in passive voice along with “not”, “be” and “attended” (past participle of “attend”) to show the possibility of Sahil not attending today’s meeting.
4. The children might have studied this topic in grade eight.This topic might have been studied by the children in grade eight.Here, the modal verb “might” is used in passive voice along with the words “have”, “been” and “studied”, to show the probability of the children already having studied this topic in their eighth grade.
5. Ruhi might perform well in the science test.The science test might be performed well by Ruhi.Here the modal verb “might” is used in passive voice along with “be” and “performed” (past participle of “perform”) to refer the possibility or probability of Ruhi performing the science test well.
Examples of “might” used in passive voice

Conclusion

Hence, this article clearly explains in detail the usage of the modal verbs “may” and “might” in passive voice.

Sowndharya Jagadeeswaran

Hi... I am Sowndharya Jagadeeswaran, a university rank holder in M.A. English Literature. I have also done my master's in Business Administration. Inquisitive as I am, my interest in action-oriented research helped me publish research papers in reputed journals. Now, as a career, I am an instructor where I teach young and adorable students the intricate technicalities of Public Speaking and Creative Writing. I also enjoy writing articles on topics I specialize and research in. You can connect with me through LinkedIn.-https://www.linkedin.com/in/sowndharya-j-972378233

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