Let's take, for example, such a sentence: I'll have him check all the locks.

What are the possible passive counterparts of this sentence? I'll have all the locks

a) checked by him.

b) be checked by him.

c) to be checked by him.

Is there any difference in the meaning if more than one is possible?

  • 2
    #a is "normal", #b is "grammatical" but unlikely (but perhaps it would have been less uncommon a century or two ago), and #c is simply unacceptable - you'd usually only see that construction applied in an "infinitive-based adjectival clause", as in All the locks are to be checked by him. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 15:54
  • @FumbleFingers Thank you for the answer. I'm a bit confused regarding unlikeliness of the second option. It's the passive infinitive, isn't it? Though formal (?), it seems quite unexceptional (?). The third option is unacceptable because there should be bare infinitive in the passive causative by analogy with the active causative "have somebody do something" (?). Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 18:28
  • Apparently, the most common past tense verb form after have it be is said (after have it to be it's done). But the equivalent but simpler version have it verbed (without to or be) has always been far more common. And per this chart you'll find only 4 instances of have it be said since 1984 (and 3 of those are from one Indian writer). It's not "natural" to most natives. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 20:21

2 Answers 2


The answer is "I'll have all the locks (be) checked by him" if you should want it in the passive voice. In spoken and even written English, the verb "be" in your example is implicit or understood; therefore, it is unnecessary to say it or write it, but I wouldn't say it is wrong; however, you can drop the "be" and just have "locks" be followed by the past participle "checked".

  1. a) checked by him. (correct)

I'll have all the locks checked by him.

You are specifying that you'll let him to check all the locks.

  1. b) be checked by him (correct)

I'll have all the locks be checked by him. (Incorrect)

Now, specifiying that all the locks to be checked by him. Note: Nobody will let him to check. There is a passive voice because you specified that all the locks to be checked by him. I'd prefer don't use any subject for this sentence.

All the locks will be checked by him.

  1. c) to be checked by him (incorrect)

Unfortunalety, that's incorrect to use with any subject.

If you use ''To + Be + Verb + ED/ V2 / V3'' as i mean Passive Voice, it couldn't be subject of the sentence. Because the verb you specified will be object of your sentence.

So you only can use

a) checked by him

Hope that my answer see work!

  • Please tick my answer if it worked.
    – Odin
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 2:16
  • Option "b" ("be checked by him") isn't incorrect, strictly speaking. It's just not idiomatic.
    – user67444
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 5:33
  • Option ''b'' is truly incorrect with any subject,
    – Odin
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 10:10
  • "have + NP + bare infinitive" isn't an incorrect structure. When the verb is "be" it is more common to drop it, but it wouldn't be incorrect not to.
    – user67444
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 15:17
  • @ Odin No, your answer doesn't work, it's simply wrong. Have you read FumbleFingers's comment above? Apparently, all three options are correct grammatically, b) and c) being just obsolete with b) falling behind most. Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 18:25

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