Source: UNIX System Administration—A Beginner's Guide by Steve Maxwell (2002)


We would like to define this partition for the purposes of creating a new file system. Also, notice that approximately 4 GB of storage is available for this new partition. This is be determined by examining the total amount of space reported with the backup partition (2) and comparing this information with the existing partition’s total disk space sizes.

I'm not sure how to understand that. What's specifically strange to me is how be is used there. Looks suspiciously like a subjunctive, but I'm not entirely sure, to tell you the truth. Would you agree that this is determined without be would sound equally fine?

  • It's not grammatical: I take it it's a mistake - perhaps the writers were undecided between "is" and "can be".
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 17, 2017 at 3:54
  • This looks like an editing typo. I think they probably decided to change it from can be to is and forgot to remove the to. Jan 17, 2017 at 16:11

1 Answer 1


"This is be determined" is wrong! The infinitive "be" is NEVER used with "is".

Alternatives are: This is determined This can be determined

Other modal verbs ('must', 'may', 'shall', along with the other forms 'might', 'could', 'should') are grammatical here in place of the 'is', but don't make much sense in the context.

By the way, this answer refers to 'standard English'. There may well be variants of English where "is be" is acceptable, but I don't know of any.

  • I doubt that McGraw-Hill would approve of non-standard English.
    – Mick
    Jan 17, 2017 at 7:00

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