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Er sagte, dass die Reise beantragt werden müssen, bevor sie reisen können.

He said that the travel must be applied for before they can travel.

Is this the correct use of passive?

I’m always confused when I have to use the passive voice.

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With indirect speech, it is always best to first find out how the sentence would have looked like in direct speech. This determines the form that needs to be taken when transformed into indirect speech.

The speaker could have said:

"Die Reise muss beantragt werden, bevor ..." (1)

or he could have said:

"Die Reise müsste beantragt werden, bevor ..." (2)

(1) translates to Konjunktiv I in indirect speech, such as

Er sagte, die Reise müsse beantragt werden, bevor ...

while (2) is already Konjunktiv in direct speech, so that transforms (or rather not) into

Er sagte, die Reise müsste beantragt werden, bevor ...

Both forms are possible and correct.

  • It could be added that the first variant corresponds to the English translation in the question. – Carsten S Oct 3 '16 at 11:12
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"Er sagte, dass die Reise beantragt werden müsste, bevor sie reisen können."

as it is only one travel you need to use the singular. multiple travels would be:
"Er sagte, dass die Reisen beantragt werden müssen, bevor sie reisen können."

edit after the comments:
as far as you use Konjunktiv, which I use in the singular, it is correct to use müssten in the plural sentence.

In this case you might ommit the Konjunktiv as the statement is in no doubt but a fix rule. So the plural sentence is possible with müssen, but then also the singular with muss.

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    If you opt for Konditional, müsste, shouldn't it be müssten in the plural? In any case, Konjunktiv, i.e. müsse, appears more fitting, with this being indirect discourse. – O. R. Mapper Oct 2 '16 at 2:11
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    I too would suggest Konjunktiv I, i.e. müsse. – Ingmar Oct 2 '16 at 3:36
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    Wieso nicht "muss"? – user unknown Oct 2 '16 at 4:26
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    Wieso nicht muss? Weil indirekte Rede in der Regel mit Konjunktiv I (und nicht dem Indikativ) wiedergegeben wird, jedenfalls außerhalb der Umgangssprache. – Ingmar Oct 2 '16 at 8:04
  • IMHO: "Er sagte, die Reise muss beantragt werden", "Er sagte sie müsste beantragt werden, wenn man länger als 3 Tage verreist", "Er sagte sie müsse beantragt werden, aber das Gesetz sagt etwas anderes." – user unknown Oct 2 '16 at 21:34

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