The potential that ‘potential’ has

A program like this is potential to be implemented in Indonesia.

Indonesian flag Is this by any chance an Indonesian writer attempting to translate ‘berpotensi untuk..’?

OK so here there is a collocation problem, even though meaning is reasonably clear! Potential collocates strongly with to have (not to be). But there are other complications:

Potential plus object

to have (+ the) + potential + to V1

  • This treatment has the potential to help four million osteoarthritis sufferers.
  • Every sport has the potential to create world champions.
  • Everyone has the potential to be someone.

And so our opening example would be better written:

  • A program like this has the potential to be implemented in Indonesia.

Potential without object

to have (+ quantifier) + potential

You can also end your sentence with potential and then explain the potential in the following sentence:

  • This treatment has the potential to help. So far four million osteoarthritis sufferers have benefited.
  • Every sport has the potential to create world champions. Tiger Woods and Roger Federer are just two examples.
  • Everyone has the potential to be someone. Presidents, sports and film stars, all had to become who they are.

And again, our opening example could otherwise be written:

  • A program like this has a lot of potential. For example, it will reduce unemployment in Indonesia.

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