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"We know it to be a drug"

Here, what does it mean by "to be" in this sentence? I know that it is a active infinitive sentence. But my question is what is the full form of "to be" here? If you say the full form of "to be" in this sentence is "is" then if I replace "to be" by "is", it will make no sense like:

"We know it is a drug"

  • We know it to be true. We know it is true. – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 21 '18 at 14:15
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    It's a somewhat dated/formal usage in your exact context (younger and/or more relaxed speakers will tend to prefer We know it is a drug). But it's still completely natural in, say, I want you to be quiet. The precise syntax of verbs of volition / perception such as think, know, want can get quite complicated - partly because those are exactly the kind of words relevant to contexts where a speaker often deliberately (but not necessarily consciously) wishes to be a little vague (as to exactly what they think or want). – FumbleFingers May 21 '18 at 14:20
  • Tᴚoɯɐuo, According to your answer if I say "We know it is true" Then my question is what is "is true" here.Is it a phrase? – Jahidul Alam Rudro May 21 '18 at 14:23
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"We know it to be a drug"

It is there because we don't know what it is, but we know certain aspects of whatever it is.

We know it is a drug

It is a real instance of an object. Meaning it actually existed somewhere or exists now, or we have one of "it".

We know it to be a drug

It is NOT a real instance of an object. We have not seen whatever "it" is yet.

We'd say this if we are trying to deduce something from reports, for example. E.g. "I've received reports of this strange thing called Krokodil. I've never actually seen it. I don't know what it is, really. We know it to be a drug."

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