Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

When I saw this sentence first, I thought so powerful to be an objective complement. [ ‘so powerful’ is the result of ‘make’] But now, it may be more reasonable to think ‘so powerful’ is modifying ‘a sleeping potion.’ Can the adjective phrase ‘so powerful’ be a postmodifier?

For your information Potter, asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful it is known as the Draught of the Living Death.

share|improve this question
1  
Yes - so powerful, or rather the complete clause, is postmodifying a sleeping potion not make. Other similar constructions could be used, beginning powerful enough to, capable of, able to, ... ; as Robusto says in his answer, the elided words that is would make the affiliation (noun phrase - postmodifier) clear. –  Edwin Ashworth Nov 17 '12 at 13:46
add comment

1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would call this simple ellipsis, the removal of words that are readily understood in their absence. Put the words back in and you have

[A]sphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion that is so powerful that it is known as the Draught of the Living Death.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

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