In researching a question, I came across this site http://www.grammarbank.com/passives-with-modals.html and this example of active voice being converted into passive:

Active : Do you have to pay the bill before leaving the restaurant? Passive: the bill have to be paid before leaving the restaurant?

Is this correct? Is this an instance of BrE and AmE grammar differing? Also, I feel that the sentence should read "Must the bill be paid before leaving the restaurant." Is this correct?

  • 2
    Looks to me like they accidentally dropped the first word of the sentence: Does the bill have to be paid ... Which is fine, and far more likely than Must ... Oct 9, 2015 at 1:24
  • To use 'must' wouldn't be unlikely, it would be grammatically incorrect. Purely in terms of grammar it could be 'does' or 'will' or 'would'. However 'does' is the only auxiliary verb that answers the question correctly. Oct 9, 2015 at 1:32
  • @StoneyB Chasley says that using "must" is grammatically incorrect. If I use must I would say "Must the bill be paid before..." This is ok...right? In one there is an infinitive and in the other there isn't one. Oct 9, 2015 at 2:05
  • P.S. I see I missed the point about 'must'. I thought you were advocating, " Must the bill have to be paid before leaving the restaurant?". I see now that in fact the suggestion was, "Must the bill be paid before leaving the restaurant?" That would be correct. Apologies. Oct 9, 2015 at 2:06
  • @chaslyfromUK all good, I'm a bit sloppy this morning. A good question is why the "to" disappears in the must version. Oct 9, 2015 at 2:08

1 Answer 1


It is a typographical error. You can tell that because the sentence begins with a lowercase letter, so obviously the first word is missing.

The correct sentence (in all varieties of English) is:

Does the bill have to be paid before leaving the restaurant?

  • Ok. See my comments above... Oct 9, 2015 at 2:06
  • A full conversion would include the agent (by you), but that doesn't work because 'you' is not meant literally.
    – AmI
    Sep 23, 2018 at 1:55

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