I faced the following sentence in the book "Computer Networks":

The moral of the story is that all messages must contain considerable redundancy so that active intruders cannot send random junk and have it be interpreted as a valid message.

The question is how to understand the have it be interpreted part. Is have here the causative and this is the "have something done" with passive voice (we have extra be here)?

1 Answer 1


You're right that the be is optional here: the meaning is slightly different, but only very slightly - a difference of focus.

Without be, even though it is not grammatially active, it nevertheless implies an actor: the meaning is something like "command that something or somebody interpret it".

With be it is more explicitly passive, with the focus on the "it" and not on the actor: a paraphrase is something like "command that it be interpreted".

  • Thank you, Colin. So if I got it right, the focus here is on the random junk rather than on intruder. Apr 12, 2019 at 9:11
  • @KirillFertikov: yes. But as I said, the difference is very slight.
    – Colin Fine
    Apr 12, 2019 at 21:29

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