Carrying to term a pregnancy against one's will is punishment enough -- in fact, it can amount to torture, according to the United Nations Human Right Council.

I found the above sentence in New York Times.

My question is why enough comes after the noun "punishment" whereas so far I know enough comes before noun like "enough strength"?


1 Answer 1


Postpositive adjectives (that come after the noun) are probably left over from the influence of French on the English language. In French the adjective normally comes after the noun.

There are three main situations where postpositive adjectives are common:

  1. With certain proper nouns, such as titles like Secretary General, Poet Laureate, and Heir Apparent, job descriptions like Notary Public, Sergeant Major, and Prince Consort, or names of organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous, Jet Blue and Verizon Wireless

  2. With common nouns and phrases like court martial, code red, whiskey sour, battle royale, and, as in your case, phrases with enough like time enough, food enough, etc.

  3. With words or phrases that the writer wants to make sound archaic or poetic, as with many book or film titles like Paradise Lost, Hannibal Rising, and The Matrix Reloaded, or dramatic phrases, They journeyed into lands unseen, and In the evening sky appeared the star foretold.

There are other uses. Postpositive adjectives appear in many phrases borrowed from other languages, such as the names of of food (chicken parmesan, spaghetti bolognese, etc.), events (bar mitzvah), or situations (carte blanche) where the words are the same as in the original language. Also, many Latin legal terms (mens rea, force majeure, persona non grata, etc.) are common, especially on certain TV shows.

This is not a complete list. For more information see:


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .