In these two sentences:

  1. He made me angry
  2. He heard creatures unseen,

both have an adjective at the end.

However, we know that unseen can be shifted before creatures to maintain grammaticality but the same cannot be said for the first sentence *(He made angry me).

What properties of the words cause this phenomenon?


"He made me angry" does not have a "postpositive adjective" in the usual sense of the term.

"Angry" is an adjective, and it is literally after the word "me", but it is not an attributive adjective. The term "postpositive adjective" is only used to refer to attributive adjectives (Edit: or to adjectives with a similar meaning to attributive adjectives: I wasn't aware that some grammarians apparently consider the term "attributive" in English to only refer to pre-posed adjectives).

An attributive adjective is part of a noun phrase that contains the modified noun. An example is "angry" in the noun phrase "an angry cat", meaning pretty much the same thing as "a cat that is/was angry". In "he made me angry," "me angry" does not constitute a noun phrase (and it cannot be rephrased as "me that is/was angry"); it's just two words that happen to be next to each other.

The adjective "angry" in "He made me angry" is part of the predicate "make .... angry". It is a complement of the verb "make"; another term used to describe the role of adjectives like this is "subject complement" because they describe the subject.

The verb "make" can take an adjectival complement like "angry", while the verb "heard" cannot.


The two sentences are grammatically different. In the first sentences, you should know the incomplete transitive verb. For example,"He made Marry happy". In this context,"made" is used as a incomplete transitive verb. The other one has omitted some words. The whole sentence is "He heard creatures that are unseen". The phenomenon is called the omission of atrributive clause.

  • 1
    In the future, please consider using spaces between sentences, capitals on the first word in each sentence, and periods at the end of sentences (in place of commas).
    – Cascabel
    Apr 5 '17 at 16:19

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