Modals and Passive Voice - How To Teach Modal Auxiliary Verbs


There are two main ways of approaching teaching modal auxiliary verbs. One is by selecting one modal auxiliary and one usage and focusing on that in that particular context. Another way, especially when teaching higher levels, is to choose a context, such as advice, and then use each of the most appropriate modal auxiliary verbs in a different way.

Below you can read feedback from an ITTT graduate regarding one section of their online TEFL certification course. Each of our online courses is broken down into concise units that focus on specific areas of English language teaching. This convenient, highly structured design means that you can quickly get to grips with each section before moving onto the next.

In unit 18 we learned about the passive voice, phrasal verbs, and modal verbs. As a native speaker of English who studied education - but not EFL education - all these topic have been familiar to me. However, again since I did not study EFL education specifically these complex grammar sections such as this are also a welcome refresher. For example, it was nice to read again about the three types of phrasal verbs. These are, of course: 1) intransative - which means the phrasal verb cannot be followed by a direct object. For example, \"I wish he would shut up!\". 2) transative seperable phrasal verbs - these are phrasal verbs where only an object pronoun can come between the particle and the verb. For example, \"Your shirt is dirty you should take it off.\" Here the object pronoun (it in place of \"shirt\") seperates the verb (take) and the particle (off). 3) transitive inseparable phrasal verbs - these can take a direct object like a type 2 phrasal verb, but unlike a type 2 these phrasal verbs cannot be seperated. For example, \"Humans can't do without food and water.\" Here the phrasal verb (do without) remains together as it must. This unit also discussed the passive voice. The passive voice is most commonly used to alter the focus of the sentence; in active voice the person or thing doing an action is the focus while with passive they became less important or omitted altogether. In this way other common uses for the passive voice are to communicate that something is not known, not necessary to know, or not wanted to be known. When forming the passive voice a grammartical tense change is required to convert from active voice. For example, a sentence in the active voice may read \"My husband scored the game winning goal!\" while in the passive voice it would read \"The game winning goal was scored by my husband!\" Notice the slight grammatical change and also the focus of the sentence shifts from the person who scored the goal (her husband) in the active sentence to simple fact of the goal being scored in the passive sentence.

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