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.

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    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. Commented Nov 17, 2012 at 13:46

1 Answer 1


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.

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