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In the last chapter we set out an interpretation of the clause in its function asa message, analysing
it as a two-part structure with the elements Theme and Rheme. We shall now turn to another aspect
of the meaning of the clause, itsmeaning as an exchange. Here the principal grammatical system is
that of MOOD.
Simultaneously with its organization as a message, the clause is also organized as an interactive
event involving speaker, or writer, and audience. Let us use the term speaker as a cover term for
both speaker and writer. In the act of speaking, the speaker adopts for himself a particular speech
role, and inso doing assigns to the listener a complementary role which he wishes him toadopt in
his turn. For example,in asking a question, a speaker is taking on the role of seeker of informationa
nd requiring the listener to take on the role of supplier of the information demanded.
The most fundamental types of speech role, which lie behind all the more specic typest hat we
may eventually be able to recognize, are just two:

giving the speaker is giving something to the listener (a piece of information, for
example,as in Boof keeps scaring me)
demandinghe is demanding something from him (as in When [has Boofbit you]?).

Even these elementary categories already involve complex notions: giving means inviting to
receive, and demanding means inviting to give. The speaker is not only doing something himself;
he is also requiring something of the listener. Typically,therefore, an act of speaking is something
that might more appropriately be called an interact: it is an exchange, in which giving implies
receiving and demanding implies giving in response. Cutting across this basic distinction between
giving and demanding is another distinction,equally fundamental, that relates to the nature of the
commodity being exchanged. This may be either (a) goods-&-services or (b) information.

If you say something to me with the aim of getting me to do something for you, such as kiss
me! or get out of my daylight!, or to give you some object, as in pass the salt!,the
exchange commodity is strictly non-verbal: what is being demanded is an object or an action,
and language is brought in to help the process along. This is an exchange of goods-&services.
But if you say something to me with the aim of getting me to tell yousomething, as in is it
Tuesday? or when did you last see your father?, what is being demanded is information:
language is the end as well as the means, and the only answer expected is a verbal one. This
is an exchange of information.

These two variables, when taken together, dene the four primary speech functions of offer,
command, statement and question. These, in turn, are matched by a set of desired responses:
accepting an offer, carrying out a command, acknowledging a statement and answering a question.

Exchanging information is more complicated than exchanging goods-&-services, because in the

former the listener is being asked not merely to listen and do something but also to act out a verbal
role to afrm ordeny, or to supply a missing piece of information.
When language is used to exchange information, the clause takes on the form of a proposition.
We will continue to use the term proposition in its usual sense to refer to a statement or question.
But it will be useful to introduce a parallel term to refer to offers and commands.As it happens,
these correspond more closely to the everyday sense of the wordproposition, as in Ive got a
proposition to put to you; so we will refer to them by the related term proposal. The semantic
function of a clause in the exchange of information is a proposition; the semantic function of a
clause in the exchange of goods-&-services is a proposal.


It is called the Mood element, and it consists of two parts:

the Subject, which is a nominal group, and

the Finite operator, which is part of a verbal group.

Thus in he might, he is Subject and might is Finite.

The Subject, when it rst appears, may be any nominal group. If it is a personal pronoun,like he in
the rhyme, it is simply repeated each time. If it is anything else, such as the duke,then after the rst
occurrence it is replaced by the personal pronoun corresponding to it. So the duke becomes he, my
aunt becomes she, the tea pot becomes it.
The Finite element is one of a small number of verbal operators expressing tense (e.g. is,has) or
modality (e.g. can, must). Note, however, that in some instances the Finite element and the lexical
verb are fused into a single word, for example loves. This happens when the verb is in simple past
or simple present (tense), active(voice), positive (polarity) and neutral (contrast).
Subject and Finite are closely linked together, and combine to form one constituent whichwe call
the Mood.** The Mood is the element that realizes the selection of mood in the clause.
The remainder of the clause we shall call the Residue.
The general principle behind the expression of MOOD in the clause is as follows.* The grammatical
category that is characteristically used to exchange information is the indicative; within the
category of indicative, the characteristic expression of a statement is the declarative, that of a
question is the interrogative; and within the category of interrogative, there is a further distinction
between yes/no interrogative, for polar questions,and WH- interrogative, for content questions.
These features are typically expressed as follows:
(1) The presence of the Mood element, consisting of Subject plus Finite, realizes the feature
(2) Within the indicative, what is signicant is the order of Subject and Finite:
(a) the order Subject before Finite realizes declarative;*
(b) the order Finite before Subject realizes yes/no interrogative;
(c) in a WH- interrogative the order is: (i) Subject before Finite if the WH- element is the
Subject; (ii) Finite before Subject otherwise. MEANING OF SUBJECT AND FINITE THE FINITE ELEMENT
The Finite element has the function of making the proposition nite. That is to say, it circumscribes
it; it brings the proposition down to earth, so that it is something that can be argued about. A good

way to make something arguable is to give it a point of reference in the here and now; and this is
what the Finite does. It relates the proposition to its context in the speech event.
This can be done in one of two ways. One is by reference to the time of speaking; the other is by
reference to the judgement of the speaker.
(i) Primary tense means past, present or future at the moment of speaking; it is time relative to
now. A proposition may become arguable through being located in time by reference to the
speech event. (There is no primary tense in proposals.)
(ii) Modality means likely or unlikely (if a proposition), desirable or undesirable (if a proposal). A
proposition or proposal may become arguable through being assessed in terms of the degree of
probability or obligation that is associated with it.
Finiteness is thus expressed by means of a verbal operator which is either temporal or modal. But
there is one further feature which is an essential concomitant of niteness, and that is polarity. This
is the choice between positive and negative. In order for something to be arguable, it has to be
specied for polarity: either is or isnt (proposition), either do!or dont! (proposal). Thus the
Finite element, as well as expressing primary tense or modality, also realizes either positive or
negative polarity. THE SUBJECT

The Subject supplies the rest of what it takes to form a proposition: namely, something by reference
to which the proposition can be afrmed or denied. For example, in the duke has given away that
teapot, hasnt he?, the Finite has specic reference to positive polarity and present time, while the
Subject the duke species the entity in respect of which the assertion is claimed to have validity.
It is the duke, in other words, in whom is vested the success or failure of the proposition.He is the
one that is, so to speak, being held responsible responsible for the functioning of the clause as
an interactive event. The speaker rests his case on the duke + has, and this is what the listener is
called on to acknowledge.
It is perhaps easier to see this principle of responsibility in a proposal (a goods-&-servicesclause),
where the Subject species the one that is actually responsible for realizing (i.e. in this case, for
carrying out) the offer or command. For example, in Ill open the gate, shall I?(offer) the opening
depends on me; in Stop shouting, you over there! (command) it is for youto desist or otherwise.

Hence the typical Subject of an offer is the speaker, and that of a command is the person being
This role is clearly recognizable in the caseof offers and commands; but it is the same principle that
is at work in statements andquestions. Here too the Subject species the responsible element;
but in a proposition thismeans the one on which the validity of the information is made to rest.
So if we want to know why the speaker chooses this or that particular item as Subject ofa
proposition, there are two factors to be borne in mind. One is that, other things being equal, the
same item will function both as Subject and as Theme. We saw in Chapter 3 that the unmarked
Theme of a declarative clause is the Subject; so if the speaker wants to makethe teapot his Theme,
and to do so without the added implication of contrast that would be present if he made it a marked
Theme (i.e. a Theme which is not also Subject, as in that teapot the duke gave to my aunt), he will
choose an option with that teapot as Subject, namely that teapot was given by the duke to my
aunt. Here there is an integrated choice of an item realizing two functions simultaneously: Subject
in the proposition, and Theme in the message.
At the same time, however, the selection of this item as Subject has a meaning in its own right: the
speaker is assigning to the teapot not only the function of starting point of themessage but also
that of resting point of the argument. And this is brought out if wedissociate one from the other,
selecting different items as Subject and as Theme. Forexample:
That teapot the duke gave to your aunt, didnt he? No he didnt. He put it up for auction.
Here the teapot is Theme (now about that teapot:), but the duke is Subject; it is the dukewho is
made to sustain the validity of the statement. Hence only he, not she or it, can gurein the tag and
the response. In the next the teapot is still the Theme, but the Subject hasnow switched to the aunt:
That teapot your aunt was given by the duke, wasnt she? No she wasnt. She bought it at an
Finally, let us reverse these two roles, having the aunt as Theme and the teapot as Subject:
To your aunt that teapot came as a gift from the duke, didnt it? No it didnt. It was the rst prize
In fact the Subject in English has got a distinct identity; its identity can be established if we adopt a
trinocular perspective.
(i) From below, it is that nominal element (nominal group or nominalized phrase or clause) that is
picked up by the pronoun in the mood tag.
(ii) From round about, it is that which combines with theFinite (operator) to form the Mood element
in the clause; it is also that which constitutesthe unmarked Theme if the mood is declarative, and
which switches place with the Finiteif the mood is yes/no interrogative.
(iii) From above, it is that which carries the modal responsibility; that is, responsibility for the
validity of what is being predicated (stated,questioned, commanded or offered) in the clause.

The Mood element has a clearly dened semantic function: it carries the burden of the clause as an
interactive event. So it remains constant, as the nub (main point) of the proposition,unless some
positive step is taken to change it.


The Residue consists of functional elements of three kinds: Predicator, Complement and Adjunct.
There can be only one Predicator, one or two Complements, and an indenite number of Adjuncts
up to, in principle, about seven. PREDICATOR
The Predicator is present in all major clauses, except those where it is displaced throughellipsis.* It
is realized by a verbal group minus the temporal or modal operator, which as we have seen
functions as Finite in the Mood element.
The function of the Predicator is fourfold:
(i) It species time reference other than reference to the time of the speech event, that is,
secondary tense: past, present or future relative to the primary tense..
(ii) It species various other aspects and phases such as seeming, trying, hoping.
(iii)It species the voice: active or passive.
It species the process (action, event, mental process, relation) that is predicated of
the Subject COMPLEMENT
A Complement is an element within the Residue that has the potential of being Subject but is not; in
other words, it is an element that has the potential for being given the interpersonally elevated
status of modal responsibility something that can be the nub of the argument. It is typically
realized by a nominal group.
Any nominal group not functioning as Subject will be a Complement; and this includes nominal
groups of one type which could not function as Subject as they stand, namely those with adjective
as Head.
It will be noted that the Complement covers what are objects as well as what arecomplements in
the traditional school grammar. But that distinction has no place in the interpersonal structure; it is
imported from the experiential analysis, that of transitivity.Since the term object is strongly
associated with the formal analysis of transitivity, we useComplement as the term for this single
element within the Residue. ADJUNCT
An Adjunct is an element that has not got the potential of being Subject; that is, it cannotbe
elevated to the interpersonal status of modal responsibility.We thus have three degrees of
interpersonal ranking or elevation in the clause: Subject Complement Adjunct.

An Adjunct is typically realized by an adverbial group or a prepositional phrase (ratherthan by a

nominal group).
The typical order of elements in the Residue is: Predicator ^ Complement(s) ^Adjunct(s). But, as we
havenoted, an Adjunct or Complement may occur thematically, either as a WH- element in
aninterrogative clause or as marked Theme in a declarative clause. This does not mean that
itbecomes part of the Mood element; it is still within the Residue. As a result, therefore, theResidue
is split into two parts; it becomes discontinuous.


Within the general category of Adjunct, however, there are two special types which do notfollow the
same principles of ordering, and do not fall within the Residue at all. These arethe modal Adjuncts
and the conjunctive Adjuncts.
The distinction among these different kinds of Adjunct is a metafunctional one. The typeof Adjuncts
discussed in the previous paragraphs was what werefer to collectively as circumstantial Adjuncts.
These areexperiential in metafunction. Modal and conjunctive Adjuncts are, respectively,
interpersonal and textual in metafunction; hence, they occur at different locations withinthe clause.

Here we need to consider the full range of modalAdjuncts, having regard to their interpersonal role.
The distinction into mood Adjunct andcomment Adjunct is made on this interpersonal basis. They
represent different types ofassessment of the proposition or proposal. Mood Adjuncts

These are so-called because they are closely associated with the meanings construed by themood
system: modality and temporality, and also intensity. This means that their neutralposition in the
clause is next to the Finite verbal operator, either just before it or just afterit. But there are two
other possible locations: before the Subject (i.e. in thematic position) and at the end of the clause
as Afterthought.

The Adjuncts of MODALITY will be discussed in a separate section

Adjuncts of TEMPORALITY relate to interpersonal (deictic) time. They relate either


(i) to the time itself, which may be near or remote, past or future, relative to the
speaker-now; or
(ii) to an expectation, positive or negative, withregard to the time at issue.

Adjuncts of modality and temporality containing the feature negative have the specialproperty
that, when they occur in thematic position, the order of Subject and Finite istypically reversed.

Adjuncts of INTENSITY fall into two classes, of which again one relates to expectation.
o (i)Those of degree may be total, high degree or low degree; the total display the same
shift invalue where the clause carries negative polarity (contrast I entirely disagree, I
dont entirelyagree). These Adjuncts (especially the total ones) are typically
associated withinterpersonally loaded Processes or Attributes; the same adverbs also
function regularly asSub-modiers within a nominal group.
o (ii) Those ofcounterexpectancy are either limiting or exceeding what is to be
expected: the meaningis either nothing else than, went no further than or including
also, went as far as. Adjuncts of intensity occur medially or nally in the clause, but
seldom initially they cannot bethematic. Comment Adjuncts

Comment Adjunctsare restricted to indicative clauses (thosefunctioning as propositions), and
express the speakers attitude either to the proposition asa whole or to the particular speech
function. In other words, the burden of the commentmay be either ideational or interpersonal.

(1)Thepropositional (ideational) typeoccur only with declarative clauses. They appear at

the same locations in the clause as the mood Adjuncts. In particular, they are strongly

associated with the boundary between information units. So they often occur medially,
following the item which is prominent; otherwise, they may occur as Theme, frequently as a
separate information unit, or in nal position as Afterthought. With this type, the speaker is
commenting either on the proposition as a whole or on the part played by the Subject.
o In the rst case, the comment may be either asseverative (it is so) or qualicative
(this is what I think about it)
o In the second case the Subjects role is being evaluated for its wisdom or morality.
(2) The speech functional (interpersonal) type may occur with either declarative or
interrogative clauses, but with a change of orientation: in a declarative, they express the
speakers angle, while in an interrogative they seek the angle of the listener. Their locations
in the clause are more restricted; they strongly favour initial or nal position. The speech
functional type also falls into two sub-types, qualied and unqualied. The qualied type is
closely related to projection; they can be expanded by ~ speaking as in generally speaking.
The unqualied, which cannot be followed by ~speaking, are either claims of veracity or
signals of assurance oradmission



Unlike modal Adjuncts, which areinterpersonal in function, conjunctive Adjuncts are textual they
set up a contextualizingrelationship with some other (typically preceding) portion of text. The
semantic basis ofthis contextualizing function is that of the logical-semantic relationships of
They typically operatein the clause as part of the Theme. But, as pointed out there, they are not
necessarilythematic; they may occur elsewhere in the clause, and in fact their distribution
wherethey can go, and what difference it makes to the meaning is quite similar to that of
modalAdjuncts, especially those of Comment.


The two types of Adjunct are also similar both in their own composition (as adverbialgroups and
prepositional phrases) and in how they may be differentiated fromcircumstantial Adjuncts. Whereas
circumstantial Adjuncts fall most naturally at the end of the clause, modal and conjunctive
Adjunctsoccur nally only as Afterthought.
And while they all can occur thematically, only the circumstantial Adjuncts can normally occur as
predicated Theme.
What is common to the modal and conjunctive Adjuncts, as distinct from thecircumstantials, is that
they are both constructing a context for the clause. Thus even thoughthe same semantic feature
may be involved, for example time, it has a different signicancein each case.

A modal Adjunct of time, such as just, yet, already, relates closely to the primary tense,
which is the shared time of speaker and listener;
a conjunctive Adjunct of time, such as next, meanwhile, locates the clause in time with
respect to the preceding textual environment;
and both are different from time as circumstance, such as in the afternoon.

Conjunctive Adjunctsarenot part of the Mood or the Residue.


Another element that gures in the structure of the clause as exchange, but outside thescope of the
Mood and Residue, is the Vocative. This also is fairly mobile, occurring
(a) thematically
(b) at the boundary between Theme and Rheme (not usually between Mood and Residue) or
(c) clause-nally
The Vocative can accompany a clause of anymood, but it is relatively more in frequent demanding
clauses (interrogatives andimperatives) than in giving ones (declaratives).
In using a Vocative the speaker is enacting the participation of the addressee or addresseesin the
exchange. This may serve to identify the particular person being addressed, or to callfor that
persons attention; but in many dialogic contexts the function of the Vocative ismore negotiatory:
the speaker uses it to mark the interpersonal relationship, sometimesthereby claiming superior
status or power.
Similarly, outside the structure of Mood and Residue, and occurring in more or less thesame places
as Vocatives in the clause, are Expletives, whereby the speaker enacts his owncurrent attitude or
state of mind. These are perhaps on the fringe of grammatical structure;but since they participate
fully in the intonation and rhythm of the clause they do gure inthe analysis.


4.4 MOOD as system; further options

The WH- element is a distinct element in the interpersonal structure of the clause. Its functionis to
specify the entity that the questioner wishes to have supplied. It typically takes a thematic position
in the clause. The WH- element isalways conated with one or another of the three functions
Subject, Complement or Adjunct.

If it is conated with the Subject, it is part of the Mood element, and the order within the
Mood element must therefore be Subject ^ Finite.

If on the other hand the WH- element is conated with a Complement or Adjunct, it is part of
the Residue; and in that case the typical interrogative ordering within the Mood element
reasserts itself, and we have Finite preceding Subject.

What about WH- / Predicator? There is always the possibility that the missing piece the
speaker wishes to have supplied may be something that is expressed in the verb an
action, event, mental process or relation and hence functioning as Predicator. But the WHelement cannot be conated with the Predicator; there is no verb to what in English, so we
cannot ask whatted he?. Questions of this kind are realized as do + what (Complement),
or what (Subject) + happen,and whatever had something done to it, or happen to it,
comes in as an Adjunct, in the form of a prepositional phrase, usually with the preposition to.


These clauses have the WH- element what or how, in nominal or adverbial group.
What conates with a Complement, as in what tremendously easy riddles you ask; this is oftenan
attributive Complement, as in what a fool he is. How conates with an Adjunct, as in how foolish he

The imperative has a different system of PERSON from the indicative. Since the imperativeis the
mood for exchanging goods-&-services, its Subject is you or me or you and me. Ifwe take the
second person, you, as the base form, an imperative clause displays thefollowing paradigm:

4.4.4 MOOD and TONE



We referred above, in discussing the Finite verbal operator, to thesystems of POLARITY and
MODALITY: POLARITY as the opposition between positive(It is. Do that!) and negative (It isnt.
Dont do that!); MODALITY as the speakersjudgement, or request of the judgement of the listener,
on the status of what is being said(It could be. Couldnt it be? You mustnt do that. Must you do

The positive/negative opposition is one that is fairly certain to be grammaticalized in
everylanguage, in association with the clause as proposition or proposal. Typically the
positiveclause is formally unmarked, while the negative is realized by some additional element:
inEnglish, by the word not located in the neighbourhood of the verb.

What the modality system does is to construethe region of uncertainty that lies between yes and
no.But there is more than one route between the two. In between the certainties of it is andit
isnt lie the relative probabilities of it must be, it will be, it may be. Similarly, inbetween the
denitive do! and dont! lie the discretionary options you must do, youshould do, you may do.
The space between yes and no has a different signicance forpropositions and for proposals.
(1) PROPOSITIONS. In a proposition, the meaning of the positive and negative pole isasserting
and denying; positive it is so, negative it isnt so. There are two kinds ontermediate possibilities:

degrees of probability: possibly/probably/certainly;

degrees of usuality: sometimes/usually/always.

The former are equivalent to either yes or no, that is, maybe yes, maybe no, with different degrees
of likelihood attached.
The latter are equivalent to both yes and no, that is, sometimes yes, sometimes no, with different
degrees of oftenness attached.
It is these scales of probability and usuality to which the term modality strictly belongs. We shall
refer to these, to keep them distinct, as MODALIZATION. Both probability and usuality can be
expressed in the same three ways:
(a) by a nite modal operator in the verbal group, e.g. that will be John, hell sit there all day;
(b) by a modal Adjunct of (i) probability or (ii) usuality, e.g. thats probably John, he usually sits
there all day;
(c) by both together, e.g. thatll probably be John, hell usually sit there all day.
(2) PROPOSALS. In a proposal, the meaning of the positive and negative poles is prescribingand
proscribing: positive do it, negative dont do it. Here also there are two kinds ontermediate
possibility, in this case depending on the speech function, whether commandor offer.

In a command, the intermediate points represent degrees of obligation:

allowedto/supposed to/required to;
in an offer, they represent degrees of inclination: willingto/anxious to/determined to.

We shall refer to the scales of obligation and inclination asmodulation, to distinguish them from
modality in the other sense, that which we are callingmodalization.
Again, both obligation and inclination can be expressed in either of two ways, though not,in this
case, by both together:
(a) by a nite modal operator, e.g. you should know that, Illhelp them;
(b) by an expansion of the Predicator , (i) typically by a passive verb, e.g. youre supposed to
know that, (ii) typically by an adjective, e.g.Im anxious to help them.







(a) The scientic treatment of music had been popular ever since the days of Pythagoras, but most
theorists,like the famous Greek, let their passion for numerical order override practical
considerations. Thus even so outstanding a scientist as Kepler held fast, in his De harmonice mundi
(1619), to the old astrological belief inthe association between interval ratios and the structure of
the universe, even of human society. The same delight in a neatly arranged system can be seen in
the Gradus ad Parnassum(1725) of the Austriancomposer Fux, . . . (Pelican History of Music, Vol. II p.
(b) Only about four out of every 10 residents affected even know their new number, || said Kevin
Read, spokesman for The Big Number, the phone industry umbrella organization. (Text 15)
(c) A system that just keeps you warm in winter isnt a very good idea.
(d) Somehow this sort of traditional Hamlet aspect in the untraditional character he was playing
didnt seemto t together.
(e) The people who want to play with the cards that have goods trains on have to sit here.

Apart from that in (b), which is a nominal group complex (consisting of two nominal groups in
paratactic relation) each of these Subjects isa single nominal group. All of them, however, except
most theorists in (a), containsome embedded material: either a prepositional phrase, or a clause, or
Thus in (a) ofmusic, as Kepler, in a neatly arranged system are prepositional phrases functioning
asQualier/Postmodier in the nominal group, and therefore form part of the Subject ofthe clause;
similarly, the phrase for business or personal use in the rst nominal group in(b).
The Postmodier in the nominal group functioning as Subject in (c) is an embeddedclause: that just
keeps you warm in winter. It is a dening relative clause. This too falls within the Subject.
In (d) and (e), which are taken from spontaneous speech, the Subject nominal groups aremore
complex, since they contain both clauses and phrases in the Postmodier. That in (d)has the clause
he was playing embedded in the phrase in the untraditional character he wasplaying which in turn
is embedded in the nominal group having aspect as its Head noun.
In(e), which was spoken by a child of four, the clause that have goods trains on is embeddedin the
phrase with the cards that have goods trains on which is embedded in the clause whowant to play
with the cards that have goods trains on; the whole thing is a single Subject, withthe noun people
as Head.
Such items are not difcult to recognize and identify as Subjects. There is another type ofembedded
clause which does not gure among the examples above, and this is a clausefunctioning not as
Postmodier in the nominal group but as Head: in other words,functioning as if it constituted a
nominal group on its own. Examples are:
(f) To argue with the captain was asking for trouble.

(g) Ignoring the problem wont make it go away.

(h) That all this wealth might some day be hers had simply never occurred to her.
In many instances an embedded clause functioning as Subject appears at the end of theclause in
which it is embedded, with an anticipatory it occurring in the normal Subjectposition, as in its no
use crying over spilt milk. In such cases there will be a marked variantwith the clause Subject at the
beginning: crying over spilt milk is no use.
(j) It was fortunate for me that the captain was no naturalist.
(k) It is impossible to protect individuals against the ills of poverty, sickness and decrepitude
without somerecourse to the machinery of the state.
(l) Doesnt it worry you that you might get stung?