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.

  • 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

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.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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