I have several times come across this construction in which the verb have is followed by the verb be, although normally be is omitted as saying just have is enough to convey the meaning. Are the following valid sentences?

  • Can I make a new account and have it be approved?
  • The whole point of HART is to have it be independent of politics.
  • Have it be easy.
  • We just couldn't have it be like it was last time, which was almost complete domination by them.

Is the "be" necessary in these sentences, or even correct? Could you please explain?

  • The be is the result of a to-less infinitive (because this construction allows it -- Have him stand up/tell us/change clothes), and, since the to is already missing, to be-Deletion just has the be left to delete. That's what's happened here. So, the be is correct, but it is optional, just as to be is optional in He wanted us (to be) ready by 5. May 23, 2015 at 22:09
  • If they were written the way you would normally write without "be", these sentences would make sense. However, "Have it easy" , even without "be" isn't clear. Could you please explain what is meant here? "be" has no grammatical function in these sentences.
    – Sankarane
    May 23, 2015 at 22:10
  • Suggest use 'Make it easy', instead of 'Have it be easy'. May 23, 2015 at 22:26
  • I guess English has evolved to the point that these sentences look awful despite being grammatically correct!
    – Sankarane
    May 23, 2015 at 23:44

1 Answer 1


Sometimes the "be" is necessary, when its subject is an agent. Suppose you're letting your daughter stay with your parents for the summer, and you're telling your parents about the dating policy you'd like them to follow for her. You say "Have her be home by 10pm." That means that your parents should require your daughter, when she goes on a date, to make sure she is back at your parents house by 10pm. But "Have her home by 10pm" would mean something quite different. That would mean your parents were somehow in direct control of her movements, and she no longer counts as an agent.

  • That's a very good example. May 23, 2015 at 23:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.