I thought the following sentence was Perfekt Passive mit Modalverb (PPmMV):

Es muss gemacht worden sein.

But I just found a book which says that "PPmMV" is:

Es hat gemacht werden müssen.

So what grammar form is "Es muss gemacht worden sein" (if this is correct at all)?

  • Both sentences are grammatical, but they mean completely different things. ("I guess it's been done" vs. "It had to be done".)
    – RegDwight
    Jul 24, 2012 at 12:57
  • A related question, but without the passive: german.stackexchange.com/q/799/119
    – Stovner
    Jul 24, 2012 at 19:15
  • 1st sentence: It must have been made. 2nd sentence: It had to be done. Jul 25, 2012 at 6:10

4 Answers 4


Well, I would say both are Perfekt Passiv mit Modalverb.

So, that's a little bit tricky to explain. Short version: One sentence uses the perfect of "müssen", the other the perfect of "werden".

Both sentences use the Modalverb "müssen".

Both sentences use the auxiliary verb "werden" to build the passive.

Präsens of the first sentence:

Es muss gemacht werden.

The perfect of "werden" is composed with "sein".

The Partizip II of the auxiliary verb "werden" is "worden". (Be aware: The Partizip II of the normal verb "werden" ist "geworden".)

So with the Perfekt of "werden" we get:

Es muss gemacht worden sein.

Präsens of your second sentence:

Es muss gemacht werden. (same as above)

The perfect of "müssen" is composed with "haben".

The Partizip II of the verb "müssen" is "gemusst". The Partizip II of the Modalverb "müssen" is in this case "müssen". (I show you why.)

So we would get for the Perfekt of müssen:

Es hat gemacht werden gemusst. (This is wrong!)

"gemusst" stands behind the infinitive of "werden", so it is changed to "müssen". Your sentence with the Perfekt of "müssen":

Es hat gemacht werden müssen. (This is correct)

I hope this was not too discouraging. And I hope I haven't introduced too many errors in my explanation, because this twisted my mind a little bit till I figured it out. Sometimes being a native speaker is a curse ;)


You're right. The form

Es muss gemacht worden sein

is perfekt passive with a modal verb (müssen). In this case the subjective modal verb müssen is used to express an assumption.

The active form would be (for your example):

Er/Sie muss es gemacht haben.


Es hat gemacht werden müssen. (Objective meaning: It had to be done.) Es muss gemacht worden sein. (Subjective meaning which used to express guessing sth. when someone is very sure: It must have been done.)

If the modal verb stands in front, the meaning is subjective. For example: Es kann gemacht worden sein. (It could have been done) implies that someone is 50 % sure.


"Es muss" is Präsens (present), "gemacht worden sein" is, as far as I know, an adverb ("gemacht worden sein müssen").

  • 1
    "gemacht worden sein" is indicative perfect passive, exactly what OP thought.
    – Em1
    Jul 13, 2012 at 18:26
  • I kind of agree that it is basically present. The sentence is the same construction as : "Das Auto muss blau sein." That is clearly present. The only difference is that instead of "blau" the characteristic here is expressed using a particip passive. However, the actual action here "müssen", be it as assumption or not, is in present. I think, naming it differently can lead to a lot of confusion. "Ich will einen Kaffee getrunken haben." is also present. I want it NOW. Not in past, not in future. And these forms do exist too...
    – Emanuel
    Jul 14, 2012 at 23:33
  • Es hätte gemacht worden sein müssen would be double past, if we had to name it in line with the way the other answers propose... Past-conditional-modal-past-perfect... kind of over the top, IMHO :)
    – Emanuel
    Jul 14, 2012 at 23:39

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